(262) 335-4678

Old Courthouse
& Jail Museums

Wednesday – Friday: 11:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 – 3:00 p.m. 

St. Agnes Historic Site
By Appointment Only

Washington County Courthouse Museum

Explore opportunities to discover your past. In-class and adult traveling programs are available at low cost. School and adult groups can experience the museums on a guided tour. Boy Scout and Girl Scout Museum Visits and Programs,
and home school classes help children learn about history the fun way.

Contact Tori to schedule a visit or discovery box at education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

Upcoming Events

Mar
7
Wed
Life Captured on Glass: Highlights From the Glass Plate Negative Collection Temporary Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 7 – Apr 28 all-day
Life  Captured on Glass:  Highlights From the Glass Plate Negative Collection Temporary Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Before plastic film and digital storage, glass was used to capture images.  Visit the History Center and see a selection of glass plate negatives and their printed images from the Research Center and Archives Collection.  Also on exhibit will be our 1908 studio camera and a selection of equipment used for taking glass negatives.  Free with regular museum admission.

May
2
Wed
History of the Doughboy Monument @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 2 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
History of the Doughboy Monument @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

In honor of the opening of our new traveling exhibit WWII Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front courtesy of The Wisconsin Veterans Museum, our executive director Patricia Lutz will be presenting on the history of the Doughboy Statue.

Free with museum admission.

WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 2 @ 3:00 pm – Jun 2 @ 4:56 pm
WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front  Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Over 122,000 Wisconsin men and women served on land, sea and in the air during WWI.  WWI Beyond the Trenches, a traveling exhibit from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, features an up close and personal look at the Great War through the eyes of Wisconsin veterans using photographs and first person accounts.  This special exhibit is free with museum admission.

May
5
Sat
Dig into the Past: Archaeology Day @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 5 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Dig into the Past: Archaeology Day @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Dig into the past at our free family-friendly, indoor-outdoor celebration! This year, we’re exploring archaeology in honor of Wisconsin archaeology month.

 See how stone tools are made, learn how archaeologist identify and interpret artifacts, and MORE!

Guided tours of the Old Jailhouse Museum will be available at 9:45, 10:15, 10:45, 11:15, 11:45, 12:15, and 12:45. Stop at the Old Courthouse Museum front desk for free tour tickets.

May
15
Tue
Marge Holzbog Presents the History of Richfield @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Marge Holzbog Presents the History of Richfield @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Marge Holzbog will present a history of Richfield.

May
28
Mon
Memorial Day Free Admission @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 28 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Memorial Day Free Admission @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

The Old Courthouse Museum will be open following the 11:00am program on the Veterans’ Memorial Plaza, located at 5th and Poplar. No Museum admission will be charged.  Sorry, no Jail tours will be available.

Jun
15
Fri
Crimes of West Bend Talk with Patricia Lutz @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jun 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Crimes of West Bend Talk with Patricia Lutz @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Learn about the dark past of West Bend as Executive Director of the History Center of Washington County reveals the crimes of West Bend!  This second talk in the 3 part series co-sponsored by the West Bend Library and the History Center of Washington County will take place at the Old Courthouse Museum.

Jun
20
Wed
Free Museums Admission Week for County Residents
Jun 20 @ 11:00 am – Jun 23 @ 8:47 am
Free Museums Admission Week for County Residents

Washington County Residents are invited to visit all 3 History Center Washington County Museums this week for FREE. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you!”

On Wednesday, June 20 all Museums are open late.

  • Old Courthouse & Old Jailhouse Museums, 11:00am-7:00pm
  • Father Rehrl’s Rectory & Exhibit at St. Agnes Historic Site, 5:00pm-7:00pm. Open Wednesday only.

EGG DROP from Old Courthouse tower June 21 from 4-7pm! Group-build a secure, drop-proof egg carton in the courtroom (or at home) for 1 raw egg. For $10 you get the egg, building supplies and 3 chances to hit the target from the balcony level (80 feet) of the Old Courthouse tower.

Hit the target and the egg survives, win a prize. Hit the target and the egg does not survive, you still get a prize. Try as many times as you wish, but it is $10/egg/drop. Tower is open only to those participating in the egg drop.

LAST OLD JAILHOUSE MUSEUM TOUR each day begins 45 minutes before close. Stop at the Old Courthouse Museum for a FREE Old Jailhouse Museum tour ticket.

Regular hours for Museums apply the rest of the week.

Residents, please bring a photo id with your current address, or a utility bill with photo id. Regular museum admission applies to non-county residents. Egg drop fee is in addition to museum admission.

Egg Drop at the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jun 20 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Egg Drop at the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Group-build a secure, drop-proof egg carton in the courtroom (or at home) for 1 raw egg.

For $10 you get the egg, building supplies and 3 chances to hit the target from the balcony level (80 feet) of the Old Courthouse tower.

Hit the target and the egg survives, win a prize. Hit the target and the egg does not survive, you still get a prize.Tower is open only to those participating in the egg drop.

Egg Drop is during our Free Museum Admission Week for Washington County Residents. Residents, please bring a photo id with your current address, or a utility bill with photo id. Regular museum admission applies to non-county residents. Egg drop fee is in addition to museum admission.

Jul
4
Wed
CLOSED Museums and Research Center @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jul 4 – Jul 5 all-day
CLOSED Museums and Research Center @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Museums and Research Center will be CLOSED.  Happy 4th of July!

For Teachers

DISCOVERY BOXES

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

Let the museum come to you! Discovery Boxes are interactive traveling programs that are designed as in-class programs presented by the Curator of Education or trained volunteer. Discovery Boxes provide historical photographs, modern images, and touchable artifacts.

CHOOSE FROM:

  • Glaciers & Geology
  • French Fur Trade
  • Woodland Indians
  • Road to Statehood
  • Pioneer Life
  • Civil War
  • State Signs & Symbols
  • Winter
  • World War II
  • Show & Tell

MUSEUM VISITS 

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

At our museums you will see exhibits chronicling the history of Washington County from the glaciers to the present day. Within our flagship museum, the Old Courthouse Museum, nine exhibit rooms are devoted to people, ideas, and events, such as Menominee and Potawatomi, Immigrants, Technology, and World War II. On the second floor are the restored Circuit Courtroom, Judge’s Chamber, and Attorneys’ Room. Don’t miss the 27-room Zinn Dollhouse, one of our largest artifacts, and the 100,000 year-old Trenton Meteorite, our oldest artifact.

Next to the Old Courthouse Museum is the Old Jailhouse Museum where you will walk through the County Sheriff’s mid-20th Century home with eight jail cells in the back.

SETTLERS & SCIENCE

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

At the St. Agnes Historic Site, your 3rd grade students will learn how changing the forests of Wisconsin into farmland took not only brutal force and many tools, but also planning, math (measurements, statistics, and probability), and science.

First, students will trace the travels of the first settlers to Sourtheastern Wisconsin and Washington County on historical and modern maps. Then, students will learn how ordinary people used math and science to farm, start businesses, and make basic necessities. All activities contain original, reproduction, and modern artifacts; photographs; and documents from Washington County’s past.

Homeschool

Learn about history using the real thing! Classes feature touchable artifacts, a tour of related museum exhibits, crafts and projects, special presenters, at-home activities, off-site trips, and more. Recommended for ages 8-11.

Due to staffing changes, the Homeschool program is currently on hold.  Please watch for updates!

Scouts

OLD JAILHOUSE MUSEUM VISITS

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

This 1-hour visit gives Cub Scouts and Brownie Girl Scouts an up close look at the life of the county sheriff and his family in the mid-20th century.

A visit will fulfill Tiger Elective Adventure: Tiger Tales #7; Wolf Elective Adventure: Collections and Hobbies #3; and Brownie Girl Scout Citizen-Celebrating Community Badge

WOLF CUB SCOUT ELECTIVE
ADVENTURE: COLLECTIONS & HOBBIES

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

This program will fulfill #3 and #6 Wolf Elective Adventures. Handouts with suggestions to complete the adventure at home are provided. Program takes 1 hour and is limited to 1 Wolf Cub Scout Den and their adults. May be scheduled during regular meeting times.

$3/person. Advance registration and payment required.

Contact Jessica (262) 335-4678 or education@historyisfun.com

JUNIOR GIRL SCOUT
“MYSTERY IN THE MUSEUM”

The Junior Girl Scouts are called to the scene of a robbery at the Old Courthouse Museum. As a team, they will complete activities and put clues together to discover who the culprit is!

For Adults

GROUP MUSEUM VISITS

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

Taking a personalized group tour through the Old Courthouse & Old Jailhouse Museums and/or St. Agnes Convent & School is a great experience for families and organizational members. Group rate available for scheduled groups of 10 ore more people. More information:

TRAVELING PROGRAMS

Contact Tori to schedule: education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678

Each of these 7 presentations covers a variety of topics and are presented by the Curator of Education or trained volunteer. Some have touchable artifacts, and all have historical photographs and modern images. Beginning June 1, 2014, an annual Program Fee for schools and organizations will be charged.

Every Kid in a Museum Initiative

EVERY KID IN A MUSEUM INITIATIVE

The History Center Washington County has partnered with Washington County Retired Educators Association to create Every Kid in a Museum for the 2016-2017 school year.

This initiative gives all 2nd graders in Washington County, Wisconsin the opportunity to see, touch, hear, and even smell their local history at the Old Courthouse and Old Jailhouse Museums in West Bend.

Participation in Every Kid in a Museum is free for schools and districts, as well as Washington County home school families. Also, classroom teachers can schedule a free 30 minute in-class presentation, “Go On an Adventure…to the past,” that reminds students of this amazing opportunity and shares highlights of Washington County history.

If you are a Washington County 2nd grade teacher and have questions, or are a home school family with a 2nd grade learner and wish to participate contact Tori Pagel at education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678.

Internships

SUMMER EDUCATION INTERNSHIP

Open to college freshmen and sophomores, this internship gives budding museum professionals a taste of giving tours and developing youth and adult programs, as well as learning how museums work behind the scenes.

The intern will receive a stipend from the Jeanne Kreilkamp Fund.

Click below for the internship description and application.