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Couple leaves $130,000 to Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Fish Carver exhibit at Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, June 21, 2016 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

MANITOWOC (WLUK) -- The Wisconsin Maritime Museum received a donation from a couple who's relationship began at the museum.

A $130,000 bequest came from the estate of Robert and Grace Peppard.

Bob Peppard was a museum volunteer from its inception in 1969. He also served on the museum's board of trustees, including as vice president in 1974-1975.

Bob met his wife, Grace Swensen, through the museum. Grace was the museum's first archival librarian.

Along with the bequest, a collection of books and photographs was also donated for the museum's archives.

"Bob was passionate about the museum, generous to a fault, and a champion of the museum's collections," said Caitlin Clyne, registrar/collections manager of the museum. "Almost 10,000 of the photographs, books and artifacts in our collections were donated by the Peppards. Bob was like a living, breathing hard drive of Great Lakes maritime history. Most of what I know about Lake Michigan car ferries, I learned from him."

The couple was also involved with the museum's Admiralty Society which helped fund the restoration and interpretation of the Chief Wawatam triple-expansion steam engine, a favorite interactive exhibit in the museum.

The Wawatam was an ice-breaking car ferry that worked in the Great Lakes.

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