Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum

Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum Public Art Site.

Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum is located just west of the Great River Road (Highway 35) between Fountain City and Cochrane, Wisconsin. One-half mile north of the Cochrane-Fountain City School, turn onto Prairie Moon Road. The site is 1/4 mile from the highway. The grounds are open to the public all year during daylight hours and the museum building is open by chance.

Winter at Prairie Moon
02/17/2013

Winter at Prairie Moon

02/17/2013

In 1952 retired farmer, fiddler, and folk artist Herman Rusch (1885-1985) began transforming the former Prairie Moon dance pavilion into a museum of antiques and natural curiosities. He created nearly forty sculptures and flower planters of locally quarried stone and concrete, embellishing them with glass, shells, and other found items. His sculptures include a graceful 267-foot arched fence, dinosaurs, temple, tiered fountain, watchtower, spires, and self-portrait bust. Rusch purchased four sculptures created in the 1930's by Halvor Landsverk and added them to the garden. In 1974 Rusch was one of nine self-taught artists invited by the Walker Art Center to participate in a major exhibition titled “Naives and Visionaries”, which examined environments created by them. Herman Rusch died eleven days after celebrating his 100th birthday in 1985, but his art remains a visual testament to his claim that, in life, “a fellow should leave a few tracks.”

In 1992 the Kohler Foundation purchased and began restoration of the Prairie Moon Museum and Sculpture Garden as part of its ongoing commitment to the preservation of significant art environments by self-taught artists. The Kohler Foundation has donated the site to the local community to be maintained as a public art site.

The museum building includes an interpretive exhibit and displays of various artifacts. A collection of miniature stone and concrete buildings modeled after the nearby village of Cochrane is also found inside the building. The miniature village was created by Depression Era artist Fred Schlosstein. Twenty-five additional sculptures by Schlosstein, including a boy fishing in a pond, animals, planters, and an archway, were preserved and installed in a circular area near the parking lot in 2008.

Another recent addition to the site is the Fountain City Rock Garden, created by John and Bertha Mehringer of nearby Fountain City during the 1930's. These stone sculptures, representing a wishing well, windmills, columns, and a bird house, are located adjacent to a one-acre planting of prairie flowers and grasses.

Picnic tables offer views of the sculptural display, colorful flower beds, and nearby forested bluffs. Waumandee Creek, a quiet tributary of the Mississippi, borders the property and is home to abundant wildlife.

Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum's cover photo
02/17/2013

Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum's cover photo

Address

52727 Prairie Moon Rd
Cochrane, WI
54629

Opening Hours

Monday 07:00 - 20:00
Tuesday 07:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 07:00 - 20:00
Thursday 07:00 - 20:00
Friday 07:00 - 20:00
Saturday 07:00 - 20:00
Sunday 07:00 - 20:00

Telephone

(608) 687-9983

Alerts

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Category

Nearby museums