Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas officially signed the Deed of Gift donating an original Moor mud baths scale from the Moor Mud Baths Hotel to the Waukesha County Museum on Friday. Museum staff transported the 100-year-old scale from a meeting room in the Waukesha County Health & Human Services building to the museum this morning.
The scale dates back to at least 1911 when John Weber opened the Moor Mud Baths Hotel, which was patterned after popular European spas. Weber purchased the land in 1899 where the current Health & Human Services building sits because of its black “moor” earth and a natural spring. Spring water and warm mud baths were promoted as therapeutic during the robust “Springs Era” in Waukesha County. The scale is the only one in the museum’s collection and is believed to be one of the few surviving original scales from the hotel. The scale was called a “platform scale” and was used to weigh an individual after their mud bath.
The museum’s newest temporary exhibit, “Behind the Vaults: Treasures from the County Museum Collection”, will open to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. “Behind the Vaults” is a visually and historically rich 2,000 square foot exhibit showcasing more than 130 rare and fascinating artifacts the museum assumed into its permanent collection and archives. In addition to the Moor Mud Baths scale, some of the other artifacts on display will include:
- A feather from “Old Abe”, the popular bald eagle that served alongside Company C, 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War (circa 1863),
- A decorative wooden cane owned by Morris Cutler, the first white land owner in Waukesha (circa 1890),
- The cowboy boots of Dr. David Roberts, the famous veterinarian who had an affair and whose lover (Grace Lusk) murdered his wife (circa 1930),
- Handmade Native American Indian doll made by Dakota Sioux Indians (circa 1900),
- The original bound and typed transcription of the cross examination from the Grace Lusk (Dr. Roberts) murder trial which is over 400 pages long (circa 1918). The infamous murder trial was held in the 1893 courthouse.