FOND DU LAC – Mercury Marine is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. To cap it off the company unveiled a museum devoted to its history Wednesday.
The new Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac is sharing space with a well-known area employer. Mercury Marine is offering visitors a look through its past.
“We have such a rich history and we’re so proud of the people and products that have made this company,” said company president Mark Schwabero.
The Mercury Museum shows the company’s progression from its start in Cedarburg in 1939, to its move to Fond du Lac 7 years later, to today.
There are a lot of outboard boat motors on display, of course, but there’s some unexpected finds.
“Understand the impact this company has had on many different industries,” said Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation President Steve Jenkins.
From snowmobiles and lawn mowers, to a Corvette motor and a curious aircraft, the museum is home to them all.
“During the war Mercury made drone engines for planes for pilots to train on,” explained Schwabero.
Fond du Lac leaders told FOX 11 it’s good to see the company’s progression in this community.
“People hear about Mercury and then they hear about Fond du Lac and we’re proud to tell that story to the world,” Jenkins explained.
Today Mercury Marine employs more than 3,000 people in Wisconsin.
But five years ago the company considered leaving Fond du Lac.
“The region and the state would not have been the same had they left,” said Jenkins.
Schwabero admits it was a tough time, but told us this museum is one sign the company has weathered the storm.
“It was a period of time when we had some difficult decisions to make about the size of the industry and as a result of that restructuring we’re here today, we’re strong today, we’re vibrant today,” Schwabero explained.
The Mercury Museum is officially open to the public Thursday. Admission is one dollar. The company says proceeds will go to a different area charity each month.