Life Navigators Receives the Historical Eisner Collection of Advertising & Design

February 27, 2024

Life Navigators is excited to have acquired the Eisner Collection, a historical American advertising and design collection.  This community treasure has been in storage for the last few years and was recently gifted to Life Navigators.

The History of the Eisner Collection

The previous owner of the collection, Elaine Eisner, was a Wisconsin advertising pioneer.  She wanted to honor her husband’s love of advertising and his legacy of mentoring young creatives.  In 2000, she opened the William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

She later purchased the contents of the American Advertising Museum in Portland, adding many of the exhibits to the Eisner Museum.  It then became the leading national collection of advertising memorabilia featuring current and historical collections, interactive displays and educational programs for adults, students and children.  Over its ten-year history, thousands toured the museum, learning the impact of modern advertising and design on American culture.

The museum was not only an educational gem but soon became one of Wisconsin’s most unique tourism destinations, attracting visitors from across the country for tours, programs and even weddings.

Leaving a Legacy

The Eisner Museum closed in 2010, and its items were placed in storage as the family awaited a new direction.  That new direction came in the gifting of the collection to Life Navigators, so that the legacy of Elaine Eisner and her family could continue to make a local impact.  Life Navigators is a nonprofit organization in Wauwatosa serving kids and adults with disabilities.  Life Navigators is excited to re-introduce the collection back into the community, making the collection available to lovers and collectors of advertising and design through two online auctions.

Features of the Collection

This extensive collection, which is a treasure trove of advertising history, features many unique pieces such as Vintage neon signs including Mobil Pegasus, Buster Brown, Gem and Lulu’s Diner, the Dream Girls and Advertising Comes of Age traveling exhibits, as well as exhibits and memorabilia featuring the history of radio, broadcasting and television.

Online Auction Information

Life Navigators is partnering with Caring Transitions Metro Milwaukee for the online auctions.  The first auction featuring certain pieces of the collection will be from Wednesday, February 28, until Wednesday, March 6. It can be viewed at

There will also be a public onsite sale on Saturday, March 9th, at Caring Transition’s Wauwatosa warehouse from 10am – 2pm, featuring 40,000+ collectible tear sheets. During this sale, interested bidders can preview many of the items included in the second online sale.  The second sale will feature the larger items, such as the vintage neon signs and the traveling Dream Girls collection.

More information is available on the online auction site.

Questions or inquiries about the collection?  Contact Amanda Stahmann,
Life Navigators Marketing & Development Director, at or 414-774-6255.  All proceeds will support kids and adults with disabilities, allowing them to be safe, happy and healthy in the community.