There's something fantastical that I've learned over the past five years, which is that readers of this here bloggity blog--yes, you!--are a veritable fountain of knowledge, willing to spew the life-giving moistness of enlightenment into the dry air of ignorance at any moment. I've also learned that if ya don't know somethin' you'll do whatever it takes to find out everything you can about it, thereby increasing the overall volume of your liquid wisdom stream. Um, okay, that came out a little funny, but ya get the point.
These two facts being true, I'm gonna give y'all a pop quiz 'cause I just know you're gonna kill it. Ready, set, go:
Raise your hand if you know of man named General Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kosciuszko. Uh-huh, I see a few tiny paws going up tentatively, which means either ya think ya know or ya absolutely know but you're still working with your therapist on overcoming the traumatizing lie that being a history nerd is so not cool. Don't worry, you'll get there.
Some of you may recognize the General's name from a post waaay back in July of 2012, when we blogged up an historically significant play produced by Urban Anthropology Inc. called The March to Kosciuszko. For those who can't quite recall, Kosciuszko was a Polish-born engineering hero of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), who later returned to his native land to win freedom for his own people. He was also a progressive thinker well ahead his time when it came to his belief in the abolishment of slavery--a conviction that prompted him to leave the money from his U.S. estate to buy freedom for slaves, provide them with education and purchase land. In short, he was an all-round righteous cat.
Given his undeniablely noble character, Milwaukee's Polish immigrant community commissioned Italian sculptor Gaetano Trentanove to create a bronze monument in the General's likeness--boldly astride a powerful horse, of course--erecting the finished piece high atop a grand granite pedestal in a park named after Kosciuszko on the city's south side in 1905. And there he posed in suspended animation for 108 years--only once being moved across the park in 1951--bravely enduring all kinds of weather--including yummy acid rain--until it was plain to see that the hero and his steed could use a bit o' TLC.
Enter the Milwaukee Polish Women's Cultural Club and the Kosciuszko Monument Committee, who led the charge in raising over $300,000 from the community for the restoration of the monument and save the day! And so they did, contracting with McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory Inc. in Oberlin, OH, to return Kosciuszko and his trusty equine back to their former glory and bring 'em back home all shiny and bright for a rededication that took place on November 11.
The End. Wait, no, I mean Not The End At All So Keep On Readin'!
To add a happy twist to our tale, the fine folks at Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) decided that it would be an awesome idea to not only document the monument's restoration process but to also tell the thrilling story of General Tadeusz Kosciuszko so all may learn and know. Hooray!
And this, kids, is where you come in. MPTV is running a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign through Indiegogo to bring its locally produced Memorializing Kosciuszko documentary to--where else?--teevee and they need your help.
As Michael Brever, MPTV Development Manager, told me:
The funds we raise will be used to support the cost of bringing the project to air. As you can imagine, producing a half hour documentary is a costly venture and although we were able to raise funds to support this project, there was a gap between our costs and the money we raised. Any funds that the crowd funding effort raises will be used to close the gap. If we are able to raise all the funds necessary to support the cost of our Kosciuszko Project, it allows us to do more documentaries of local interest in the future. Conversely, any shortfall, potentially jeopardizes future productions.
Holy HUGE opportunity for us all to give and get! Also, it's Thanksgiving time, folks, and a donation to this worthy project further proves you're a smart freedom-lover who knows that the only native Americans are, well, Native Americans and everybody else who helped win the Revolutionary victory over tyranny was from somewhere else, including Kosciuszko, so we need to give credit and thanks where it's due.
Need some visuals? Check out this video clip on the restoration process:
The campaign to fund the Memorializing Kosciuszko documentary only runs through this Saturday, November 30, so click on over there now and give, you freedom-lovers you!
UPDATE: The MPTV Memorializing Kosciuszko Preview Party will be held at the Polish Center of Wisconsin, 6941 S. 68th Street in Franklin, on Tuesday, January 28, beginning at 6PM. Free and open to the public!
Air dates of the documentary are:
Feb. 3 at 9PM on MPTV 10.1/36.2
Feb. 7 at 10:30PM on MPTV 10.1/36.2
Feb. 8 at 10:05PM on MPTV 36.1
Feb. 9 at 11:30AM on MPTV 36.1
Feb. 11 at 4:30AM on MPTV 36.1