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Historic books stolen from local museum

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The search is on for two historic books stolen from the Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire.

WEAU 13 News spoke with the museum’s director on Friday about how the theft could change how you see local history.

“You wouldn’t see them everyday. Most people wouldn't have seen them unless they came to the museum,” museum director Susan McLoud said.

But visitors to the Chippewa Valley Museum will now miss out on seeing the historic books.

McLoud said “Mitchell’s Travelers Guide through the United States” and “Phelps’ Travelers Guide through the United States” were stolen right from a display case.

“It took unusual nerve on the part of whoever did this. It may have taken more than one person to do it,” McLoud said.

The historic guides dating from 1851 and 1883 contained hundreds of maps that stretched across the country.

The museum said immigrants would have used the books to travel across the Wisconsin wilderness.

It’s a piece of local history that could be lost forever.

Because nothing else was stolen from the exhibit, the museum believes the thief swiped the guides for their own collection or for profit.

“We know that some of them in complete condition have sold on EBay for $400 to $500. I'd have to say it has to be somebody who knows something about that market,” McLoud said.

The museum director said the theft will increase security at the museum and could push several display cases farther back from visitors.

“It’s very sad when something like this happens. Because it means more distance between people and the place they live in and their own story,” McLoud said.

The Eau Claire Police Department said it’s been looking at local pawn shops and antique stores for the books.

If you have any information you’re asked to call Eau Claire Police at (715) 839-4972.


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