Looking over Voyageur Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady


Dedicated in 2013, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Shelter will provide families and friends to gather, share a meal, and imagine the possibilities.

Marianne La Buche

Marianne La Buche Dedicated June 7 2020.

"Aunt Marianne" LaBuche Fundraising

Aunt Mariane Labuche
Currently, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park is raising funds for a bronze statue of "Aunt Marianne" LaBuche. Fundraising is led by 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteers of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.

Marianne Labuche, was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin. Her patients called her "Aunt Marianne". Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790. She married three times and was the mother of fourteen children. She filled a crucial need in the Wisconsin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine.
Until a fort was erected in Prairie du Chien, 1816, and a surgeon arrived, she attended the sick and attended to them as a physician, and charged fees. After the Fort, she continued to practice among the people of Prairie du Chien. Her talents were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was critically injured during an Indian attack. Labuche covered the exposed brain with a silver plate over which the skin healed. The little girls lived to be 80 years old. (www.statuepark.org)

Display showcases 25 potential statues intended for Mississippi River Sculpture Park

By Correne Martin

Courier Press, Mon, 08/28/2017 - 11:28

sculpture park displayImagine 25 life-sized, historical figures from Prairie du Chien’s past enshrined in bronze statue form, placed carefully in a spacious park setting along the scenic Mississippi River. Doesn’t that sound enchanting? The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, as it sits in Prairie du Chien today, is the beginning of that exact vision. Currently, there are five statues in the free, self-guided park, at Villa Louis Road and Bolvin Streets.

But, to get the full effect of what the sculpture park could be someday, local residents and visitors of all ages and interests are invited to check out a new display that showcases the 20 additional statues planned for the setting in the future. A display cabinet—located in the small, limestone, “Eagles on the River” building as you first access Water Street on the island—presents the 25 total sculptures, as miniature, acrylic replicas, that may, one fine day, be arranged altogether in the park.

“It even includes the fire circle that’s there,” shared Melody Igou, Mississippi River Sculpture Park board member. “The display gives people an idea of what this park can really be.”

Igou said the board realizes each of these sculptures is quite expensive, and recently, the members have done research into how they can bring the cost down significantly. Doing so could make the finished park to fruition much sooner too.

In the meantime, Igou would really like the public to make a special trip to the Eagles building to view the exhibit. Seeing all 25 of these select figures, who helped shaped the area, together, may truly drive home the essence of the grand potential this one-of-a-kind sculpture park has. She and the board hope this display will provide further inspiration to people to visit the park, walk among the statues, learn their stories and possibly consider donating toward the coming sculpture.

At present, the figures in the park include Black Hawk, Dr. William Beaumont, Victorian Lady, Voyageur and Emma Big Bear.

The next bronze sculpture, Aunt Marianne LaBuche, was Prairie du Chien’s first physician. She rescued and nursed her granddaughter, baby Louise Gagnier, who had been scalped and left for dead. As of mid-July, $28,000 was yet needed to complete the LaBuche statue.

The following 19 intended representations are to include British Redcoat, Chief Shin Ga Wassin, Winneshiek, Chief Waapasha Anishinabeg, Father Jacques Marquette, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, Jefferson Davis, Judith and Nina Dousman, John Lawler, Louis Joliet, Mastadon Hunter, Riverboat Captain, Mississippian, Mound Builder, Nicholas Perrot, Minnie Owens, Zachary Taylor and Zebulon Montgomery Pike.

For more information about the history of each figure, sculptor Florence Bird or to buy an inscribed paving brick or donate, visit statuepark.org.

Another First for Sculpture Park - Augmented Reality

There is simply no other park like this in the Midwest. Dare I write, in the US!
Click on image to watch a short video
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is included in the wiki list of sculpture parks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sculpture_parks) This, in itself, is no small accomplishment.

The Mississippi River Sculpture Park has life-sized bronze sculptures. Florence Bird, the Sculptor, recalls: “Finding this deep ancient Mississippi valley and learning of the people who have inhabited this area and whose descendants are still calling this beautiful region home has been a great adventure.”

Today, there are five life-sized sculptures: Chief Black Hawk, Dr. William Beumont and son, Israel, a Victorian Lady, a voyager, and Emma Big Bear. Each one intricately sculpted.

The final stages of fundraising is being completed for the sixth sculpture: Marianne Labuche.

But what would happen if a park visitor focused the camera of their mobile device on each of the sculpture's descriptive sign and, not only saw the sign but superimposed over the sign, the sculpture comes alive and actually talks with you?

That’s what augmented reality is! When the “physical world” and “digital information” are combined, an “augmented reality” is created. This combination is called an “aura”. In this case, the aura is triggered by a sign.

The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is the only public park in Prairie du Chien to offer augmented reality. In fact, it just may be the only park of it's kind in the entire midwest!

HP Reveal is a free mobile app for any web-enabled device that helps to create an “augmented reality”.

It’s easy to get started 

Step 1: Download the app HP Reveal to your web-enabled mobile device

Step 2: Search for and follow MRSP. (mrsp's Public Auras)

Step 3: Point it and watch it come alive.

Test Augmented Reality!

Open HP Reveal on your mobile device. Click the view button at the bottom of the screen. The view button looks like the corners of a square. 
Aim the HP Reveal viewfinder at the image below. Watch what happens.
Does a video Appear? You should be viewing a short video about the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.
Go visit the park. Point HP Reveal at each descriptive sign next to the sculpture. 

Please note: This is not a perfect system. The app is dependent on having an internet connection to work. Additionally, the viewfinder can be finicky. Although we have tried to choose objects that work 100% of the time, a change in lighting or another uncontrollable factor can cause the app to be unable to recognize the image. When the app is not able to recognize the image the overlay will not appear.

Sculptor’s Corner, January 2018

Florence Bird Studio, LLC

While looking through my files and references, I realize that it has been many years since the beginnings of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. Some folks may not remember the original vision. In 2002 I started learning about the history of Prairie du Chien, near the confluence of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi Rivers. From personal stories, archeological records, news articles, books and library research I found that people from all corners of the world had come to this place over time to work, trade and live. I began to realize that this was a place worthy of an important monument.
In order to illustrate the full significance of this place in history, it would be necessary to have many historical figures representing different times. I found that there is new enlarging technology that helps make it possible to translate small clay maquettes into life-size bronze sculpture. This allowed the possibility of making several life-size sculptures for the sculpture park. Previously each sculpture would have had to have been made life-size in clay in the studio and transported to the foundry, a near impossible task. As it is now, we can use the most modern technology along with the most ancient bronze casting techniques so the vision can encompass this whole amazing history. Here is our original Mission Statement:

“To provide unique aesthetic and educational opportunities to experience 12,000 years of history at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.”

As the MRSP stands now, it is the first chapter of this grand history. As it develops it will become the grand and significant monument as intended.
Following is a list of the historical characters for the sculpture park and their timelines:
Timeline of the MRSP sculptures:

10,000 BCE (last ice age) ~
Mastodon Hunter (1 150)

5,000 BCE to 12,000 CE
Mound Builder (speciļ¬c to Oneota culture (1,000 CE)

800 CE to 1500 CE
Mississippian (1300 CE)

1600 — 1800 +
Nicholas Perm! (1644 — 1717)
Fr. Jacques Marquette (1637 — 1675)
Louis Jolict (1645 - 1700)
Early Voyageurs I600 — 1800)
Julian Coryer, voyageur (1833 +)
I800 — 1900
Black Hawk (1767 — 1838)
Zebulon Pike (1779 — 1813)
Zachary Taylor (1784 — 1850)
Chief Shin-Ga~Bo- Wassin (1763 - I828)
Dr. Wm Beaumont (1785 — I853)
Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli (1807 — I864)
Jefferson Davis (1808 — I889)
“Aunt” Mary Ann IaBuche (1820 - ?)
British Red Coat(l8l2 -1814 in PdC)
John Lawler (1857 — 1874 active in PdC)
Minnie Owens, the rninstrel player (1887 - ?)
1900 - Present day
Chippewa Elder Woman (1890 + ?)
Victorian Lady (circa 1900)
First Chief Winncshiek (18? - 18? (signed treaty in PdC 1828)
Chief Clayton Winncshiek (Present day)
Judith & Nina Dousman (pictured in 1891)
Emma Big Bear (1869 — I968)
Captain Wm. D. Bowel1(present day)