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Sturgeon Bay's tie to a Christmas window tradition

Without the hard work of a Sturgeon Bay woman, holiday memories in northeastern Wisconsin may have been lost forever. The work of Silvestri's Art Company in Chicago had already done a tour of duty at Chicago’s Marshall Fields and Green Bay’s Prange’s Department Store when the late Georgia Rankin rescued them from a coal bin. She worked at preserving them and put them on display with the rest of her doll collection. Her daughter, Tanya Olson, says a lot of work went into restoring some of the pieces.  

Rankin eventually sold half of the set to the Sheboygan Historical Museum and the other half to the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, which got another dose of restoration work before going on display in 2004. Olson is happy that her family could play a role in preserving an important part of the area’s holiday traditions.

The Neville Public Museum gives several nods to Rankin in its Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay exhibit, which is open to the public through January 10th. Rankin’s love of dolls can also be seen at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York where her Barbie collection currently resides.

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