funded in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council

"Wisconsin's French Connections" was one of 20 Sesquicentennial Projects (out of a total of 300) to receive a certificate of commendation from Governor Thompson and the State of Wisconsin.


TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

PLACE: THE UWM CAMPUS - University Union, Golda Meir Library, and Campus Grounds.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is situated on the residential East side of Milwaukee, a few blocks from Lake Michigan, between 3000 and 3500 North Downer Avenue, and extending west between Downer and Maryland Avenues. Most activities will take place in the Wisconsin Room, the Union Cinema, and several other rooms on the second floor of the University Union, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard, between Downer and Maryland. Student groups should go first to the Wisconsin Room for registration.


1. K-12 Student Projects related to Wisconsin's French Connections will be a highlight of the Fair. Projects may include historical research, cultural exchanges, artwork, skits, songs, foods from French-speaking countries, etc. Some projects will be set up in the Wisconsin Room; performance projects will be scheduled in "break-out" rooms on the second floor of the Union (E 240, E 250, E 260). All students who have contribute to a project will receive a special Certificate from the Department of Public Instruction.

2. Foods from the French-speaking world. Hungry and curious students will be able to sample foods from the French-speaking world in the French Caf, set up in an area of the Wisconsin Room. These will include French sandwiches, pastries provided by French pastry chef Dany Olier, African futu prepared by the "Toussaints Gospel Choir," other delicacies from French West Africa prepared by African Hut restaurant of Milwaukee. For fifty cents, students can purchase a ticket that entitles them to a food or beverage item. They will be able to sample French-Canadian voyageur "pea soup" and wild rice cooked at the "Voyageur" encampment on UWM grounds by Bonnie Knight and her intrepid students, all seasoned re-enactors.

3. Business Connections with the French-Speaking World. We have invited representatives from international corporations such as Allen Bradley, Johnson Controls, Marquette Medical Systems, Kohler General Corporation, and Cap Gemini America, to display and discuss their international operations. These representatives will explain the importance of learning French and foreign languages in general to our young people who are preparing to become Citizens of the World in the 21st Century. The new international book store on Brady Street in Milwaukee, Europa Books, will have a booth displaying French books, magazines and educational materials. 4. Surf the web and play games in French. Students will be able to surf the "Wisconsin's French Connections" website ( http://www.uwgb.edu/wisfrench) and its multiple links at several computer stations in the Wisconsin Room. Remember, student projects will also be posted on the website for the world to admire! In addition, there will be a break-out room for students to play Monopoly, Scrabble and other games in French. And, weather permitting, we will play boules and ptanque outside on our way to other outdoor activities.

5. "Où est Ouisconsin? Mapping Wisconsin's French Connection." Students will be able to visit a fascinating exhibit of early maps of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes when our region was part of "New France" at the American Geographical Society Collection in UWM's Golda Meir Library. See how map-makers were gradually able to draw the contours of Wisconsin's geographical features such as Lake Michigan and the course of the Mississippi without the help of satellite imaging, solely from the accounts and drawings furnished by the French missionaries and voyageurs.

6. Interactive Cultural Presentations in the UWM Union Cinema. Please note: The Union Cinema seats 350. We will schedule two performances, morning and afternoon. Seating is limited, so please return your registration forms early, and indicate which performances your students would like to attend.

Several exciting presentations are planned to illustrate French Connections past and present:

        "Les Toussaints," the All Saints Church Gospel Choir, is a wonderful integrated choir composed of adults and children of all ethnic backgrounds. This choir is a living "French Connection" which has been invited by the city of Limoges, France, to sing in the famous Limoges Cathedral this summer. "Les Toussaints" will bring Father Marquette's heritage back to France; they will sing American Gospel hymns and French songs in France, and will perform portions of the concert they are preparing for us at the French Connections Fair. (30 min.) Les Boulingrins, performed by the Alliance Franaise of Milwaukee. Les Boulingrins is a modern, farcical one-act play by Courteline about a visit paid by a Monsieur Des Rillettes to the cozy bourgeois home of Monsieur and Madame Boulingrin. Anticipating royal treatment, Monsieur Des Rillettes is instead caught in the middle of the Boulingrins' continual domestic disputes, which the unsuspecting guest is expected to referee. The slapstick humor will make the play easy to understand even for students who have not studied much French. If you would like to have a copy of the play in order to discuss it with your students prior to attending, please indicate this on the registration sheet. (30 min.)

          "Voyageur Days," presented by Bonni Knight and student re-enactors from Eau Claire High School. Bonni Knight is a French teacher from Eau Claire who has studied Wisconsin's French and French-Canadian past for many years and who participates in "Rendezvous" across the state. Bonni is presently on sabbatical and under contract to write a book on this subject. Those of you who attended our January 24 meeting were fascinated by Bonni's lively, interactive, hands-on presentation. Bonni and her students will re-create those adventurous days before our eyes at the Fair, both on stage and on their encampment site, where they will have pitched their tents and spent the night. (40 min.)

          "How did our French-Canadian ancestors live?" a presentation by historian Mary Antoine de Julio. Mary Antoine de Julio of Prairie du Chien, formerly Associate Curator at Villa Louis, studies "Material Culture." She will show artifacts from French-Canadian households and explain how people lived in the late 18th and 19th centuries. (20 min.)

          "Embrassez le Passé: A Musical Celebration of Wisconsin's French-Canadian Pioneers," performed by Denise Wilson. From the rousing choruses of French paddling songs to the stirring sound of the fife and rope-tensioned drum, listeners are transported to the colorful period of French exploration and settlement in Wisconsin. Songs and narratives tell of the lives of 18th century French-Canadian voyageurs, soldiers, priests, and simple farmers who called (what is now) Wisconsin their home. Dressed in authentic 18th century clothing, Denise will explain, perform and teach us some of these wonderful songs. (30 min.)

We will issue a "Passport" to students to encourage them to visit as many displays and activities as possible.

As soon as we have an idea of how many of you will attend the Fair and how long you will be able to stay, we will prepare a detailed schedule of events. We will probably have to schedule your group at a particular time, in order to allow as many participants as possible to take advantage of a very full program. But remember, if you and your students are not able to see and do everything, we can try to make "Wisconsin's French Connections" Fair a recurring event!

A mailing regarding this Fair has also been sent to Milwaukee area schools. Gabrielle Verdier, Chair
Dept. of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Tel: (414) 229-4382 Fax: (414) 229-2939


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University of Wisconsin--Green Bay
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311