Museum Exhibit Design
Gary Schlosstein, curator of Castlerock Museum, embraced a new and exciting concept in museum design featuring open wall interpretive exhibits intermixed with art to walk the visitor through history. Gary reached out to Christopher Dobson, a longtime friend, former armorer to the Royal Armouries, leader of several International Arms and Armour Conferences, author of recognized works on art and armor and a film and TV consultant. Christopher Dobson visited Castlerock Museum and together we developed open exhibit design using Castlerock Museum’s collection to highlight the development and evolvement of arms and armor through the ages.

With the exhibit envisioned Gary Schlosstein reached out to Jeanne Nyre, an experienced museum designer and Dondi Hayden, an experienced exhibit fabricator. Jeanne Nyre and Gary Schlosstein then worked together for a period of two years to develop and install the displays and the interpretive panels. During this time Dondi Hayden constructed the hundreds of artifact holders and cases, each of which had to be individually fabricated to fit each piece on display.

The finished design is a series of chronologically arranged displays each focusing on a different civilization, visitors walk through 2,000 years of history. The museum is self-guiding. The interpretive panels allow quick reference to each piece of arms, armor or art.

History of the Collection
The museum arises out of the personal collection of Wisconsin Judge, Gary B. Schlosstein. At the age of 10, Gary acquired a Civil War musket for $3 that sparked a lifelong pursuit of historical weaponry since that time. A visit with the curator of a Midwestern historical museum in the early 1980s piqued Gary’s interest interested in the study of European Arms and Armor. As the collection grew, Gary concentrated on obtaining examples which show how the style and form of arms and armor evolved through the ages. Many pieces were acquired through the great auction houses, including Sothebys and Christies in London and New York, Bonhams and Butterfields in London and San Francisco, Fischer in Lucerne, Hermann Historica in Munich, and Czerny's in Sarzano, Italy. Over a period of time, Gary became closely acquainted with an international network of other collectors and reputable and knowledgeable dealers. Many pieces were acquired directly from these sources.

Recognizing the unusually complete historical scope of the collection and its educational ability to present the story of arms and armor through the ages, together with the fact that most museum arms and armor exhibits only show isolated periods of time, it was decided that the collection should be permanently preserved and put on display for the education and enjoyment of the public. The result was the establishment of Castlerock Museum, along with the donation of the collection to the museum foundation and the funding and building of an appropriate museum building to house, preserve and show the history of arms and armor to the public.

Museum Building
The Museum, a two story castle appearing building with crenellated walls, was specially built and designed to house the Castlerock collection. The street level has chronological period exhibits along the walls and individual displays throughout the room. The ground or lower level has continuing open wall displays and a 30 person theatre presentation area for group and school presentations. The building was commenced in 2007 and completed in 2008. The general contractor was Randy Secrist of RS Construction, Alma, WI. The electrical work was done by Terry Duellman of Fountain City, WI, and the plumbing by Collins Plumbing of Alma, WI.

Castlerock Museum has visitors from around the world

Museum Staff

Executive Director
William Jon Wolcott
Email: bwolcott@castlerockmuseum.com

Curator / Founder
Gary B. Schlosstein

Webmaster & Website Technical Design
Kelly J. Herold

Chief Docent
John Reese

Exhibit Consultant
Christopher Dobson

Exhibit Design & Website Artistic Layout
Jeanne Nyre

Exhibit Fabrication
Dondi Hayden

Museum Corporate Structure:
Castlerock Museum is a nonprofit educational Museum organized and approved under 501(c)(3) organized in 2008. It is a tax exempt educational facility and donations to it are recognized as IRS charitable deductions.