History

Legacy of the USS Lagarto

The USS Lagarto began its life in a Manitowoc shipyard and went down fighting in a sea battle against a Japanese convoy. But its fascinating story didn’t end in the depths of the Gulf of Thailand.

Decades later, details have emerged about what happened to the 86 men who vanished along with the submarine.

Tonight on WPT at 8 p.m., Lost and Found: The Legacy of the USS Lagarto explores what happened to the submarine, its crew — and the families they left behind. 

Watch a preview provided by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum:


Continue reading Legacy of the USS Lagarto

WPT Previews: American Experience’s Mark Samels on The Great War

When he visited Wisconsin this past October, American Experience Executive Producer and UW-Madison alumnus Mark Samels talked with us to give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the making of the PBS series’ new film, The Great War – a three-night event that begins 8 p.m. Monday, April 10 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Watch his behind-the-scenes perspective on the film’s creation and then watch a trailer for this powerful three-part documentary, below.

Quiz: Polka in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, polka is tied to our identity like beer, brats and cheese! But, how much do you actually know about the music and dance?

Test your knowledge with this 10-question quiz!

And tune in Monday at 7 p.m. for Polka! with musician and host Mollie Busta — better known as Mollie B. — as she explores the history and culture surrounding the often misunderstood dance, the memories it conjures, the people who enjoy it … and the fun it invokes across Wisconsin. Watch the preview and read our interview with Mollie B.

Ready to get out your dancing shoes? Find polka across Wisconsin by exploring this map that lists venues with weekly music and annual festivals.

Funding for Polka! is provided in part by the Stanley J. Cottrill Fund, International Polka Association, Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

Enter the Masterpiece 2017 Sweepstakes!

Do you dream of stepping into the worlds of Victoria and Downton Abbey? (I know I do!) Well, here’s your chance: Enter the 2017 Masterpiece Sweepstakes! The grand prize is incredible: A tour of Downton Abbey’s famous Highclere Castle, a visit to Sherlock filming locations in London, and a chance to explore Victoria sites in Yorkshire.

In addition to the amazing grand prize, you can also win awesome PBS merchandise. BUT, time is running out to enter: The deadline is March 15, 2017. Enter daily at pbs.org/sweepstakes

Masterpiece is offering even more chances to win through Twitter! It’s as easy as this: After you enter, click on the Twitter icon below the words “Invite Your Friends” on the “Thanks for your entry” page. Once you share the sweepstakes via Twitter, you will get another entry (up to 5 additional entries) in the Sweepstakes for each friend that enters. 

Details on the Grand Prize From Masterpiece

“With an itinerary arranged by VisitBritain, Great Britain’s national tourism agency, this trip features a visit to world-famous Highclere Castle, tours of historic estates in Yorkshire filmed for Victoria, and a private tour of the Tower of London, used in Sherlock.

The 7-day, 6-night trip includes economy class round-trip travel to London Heathrow Airport on British Airways from any British Airways operated U.S. gateway city at the time of travel, and includes a connecting one-way flight to Leeds Bradford Airport in Leeds. Accommodations are four-star, including The Royal York Hotel and London’s Edwardian Hotel.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria merchandise, including the Downton Abbey Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set DVD, Sherlock Seasons 1, 2, and 3 on DVD, a Sherlock action figure, and Victoria Season 1 on DVD, all from shopPBS.org.”

Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT producer Mik Derks has worked with Jerry Apps since 2012. Photo credit: James Gill.

“[Jerry Apps] gave permission to his audiences to remember their childhoods fondly.” -Mik Derks

Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 on WPT

Over the past five years, WPT producer Mik Derks has been sharing the stories of beloved Wisconsin author, historian and storyteller Jerry Apps with television audiences. This month, the tradition continues with a new documentary: Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain. Reflecting on water’s importance throughout his life, Apps shares why his father told him, “Jerry, never curse the rain.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

The Wisconsin Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Celebration Airs Monday, Jan. 16

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration: The Journey Ahead takes place in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda at noon on Monday, Jan. 16. Wisconsin’s Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute is the oldest annual event in the United States.

There are multiple ways to tune in to this year’s tribute: 

Continue reading The Wisconsin Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Celebration Airs Monday, Jan. 16

25 Favorite Wisconsin Programs of 2016

As the year comes to a close, we were curious to see which programs with local ties connected with Wisconsin Public Television viewers the most over the past 12 months.

wl_orange_crush001We peeked at website data and took note of all the comments you made by email and phone to compile a list of locally produced programming that warmed your heart, inspired you to action, educated you, and made you feel closer to your Wisconsin family.

As always, thanks for tuning in – today, and all year long.

Did we miss your favorite show in this list? Let us know in the comments section below.
Continue reading 25 Favorite Wisconsin Programs of 2016

Enjoy Three New Tribal Histories Programs This Month

Storytellers from each of 11 sovereign nations located in Wisconsin — and one nation whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government — share the unique histories of their people and communities in WPT’s original Tribal Histories documentaries.

The three newest programs from the series — featuring the Red Cliff Ojibwe, Lac Du Flambeau Ojibwe and Brothertown tribes — air on WPT this month, with the first episode premiering this Thursday. All episodes are also streaming online now. Continue reading Enjoy Three New Tribal Histories Programs This Month

Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

“Our history is an oral history, not written down,” says Andy Gokee, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “If it is written down, we don’t pay much attention to it.”

A new season of Wisconsin Public Television’s Tribal Histories premieres Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

federallyrecognizedtribesRecorded in the natural settings of the regions that native people have called home for centuries, these films feature tribal members sharing the triumphs, challenges and time-honored traditions that have shaped their vibrant communities across generations.

The series premiered in 2014 with the Menominee, Oneida and Potawatomi stories. In 2015, the Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican and Bad River Ojibwe stories followed. The series continues with stories from the five other sovereign nations within Wisconsin’s modern boundaries, as well as the Brothertown Indian Nation, whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government.

All premieres air at 7:30 p.m., following Wisconsin Life.

Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe
Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe

Thursday, Dec. 15: Red Cliff Ojibwe History
Featuring Marvin DeFoe, Red Cliff Ojibwe Tribal Elder, teacher and master canoe maker; and Andy Gokee, director of the Native American Center at UW-Stevens Point

Thursday, Dec. 22: Lac du Flambeau History
Featuring Ernie St. Germaine, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Elder and American Birkebeiner Co-Founder

Thursday, Dec. 29: Brothertown History
Featuring Joan Schadewald, First Nation Brothertown Elder, Cowgirl and Peacemaker

Read on for a Q&A with Andy Gokee.

Continue reading Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

Understanding Our Shared Heritage: WPT Resources for Wisconsin Act 31

As the United States celebrates National Native American Heritage Month throughout November, Wisconsin residents and others interested in learning more about Native American culture of the past and present can find a variety of easy-to-access resources thanks to Act 31.

In the words of Aaron Bird Bear, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s American Indian Curriculum Services Coordinator, “Act 31 is an invitation to get to know the deep human story of the Western Great Lakes. It helps us understand our neighbors. It helps us understand our own shared history … Act 31 gives us a great sense of perspective of thinking about this place, of the many different ways we understand this place, and that’s a skill set that will be valuable for anyone wherever they go, in this global, connected world …”

Continue reading Understanding Our Shared Heritage: WPT Resources for Wisconsin Act 31