(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

Jan
31
Wed
Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jan 31 – Feb 24 all-day
Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Did you know the Great Lakes hold 20% of the Earth’s fresh water?   Join us for a special showing of Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin, a traveling exhibit presented by the Wisconsin Historical Society.  This 16 panel exhibit explores our state’s long relationship with water and the impact we have had on our vast waterways.

Feb
3
Sat
Lake Michigan Shipwrecks and Discoveries @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 3 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Great Lakes are known as the inland seas with powerful storms reaching up to hurricane force winds and ships disappearing beneath the waves.  The Great Lakes used to resemble a busy highway with ships crossing them; transporting natural resources, grain, cargo, and people. At times ships collided and sunk.  Join Capt. Jitka Hanakova as she takes you back in time from when the first ever ship, the Le Griffon, crossed the Great Lakes to discovering missing schooners, steamships, freighters, and even airplanes.  You will find out how these ships sunk and what they look like on the bottom of the lakes now – some still containing precious cargo of Christmas trees, Nash automobiles, and even a safe with gold coins.

 

Free with museum admission.

Feb
17
Sat
Matinee Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish” PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 17 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Matinee Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish”  PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

A rash of crimes have been haunting 1930’s Washington County and it is believed Chicago Gangster Freddy “The Fish” is responsible. Judge Bucklin will preside over this unique interactive evening where each guest is a victim, witness, juror or  “friend” of Freddy’s.  Period dress is popular and encouraged.  Based on real crimes and historical characters, and locations in Washington County and beyond.

Doors open at 2:30.  Matinee Dessert Trial tickets include an assortment of cookies, bars, chocolates, fruit and savory snacks and non-alcoholic beverages with a cash wine and beer bar.

Dinner Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish” PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 17 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Dinner Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish”  PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

A rash of crimes have been haunting 1930’s Washington County and it is believed Chicago Gangster Freddy “The Fish” is responsible. Judge Bucklin will preside over this unique interactive evening where each guest is a victim, witness, juror or  “friend” of Freddy’s.  Period dress is popular and encouraged.  Based on real crimes and historical characters, and locations in Washington County and beyond.

Doors open at 5:30.  The Dinner Mystery Trial tickets include a buffet by Catering by Bryan with salmon, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, red potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, tossed salad and dessert.  Includes ice tea and coffee.  Cash bar.

Feb
28
Wed
West Bend High School Band Concert @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The West Bend High School Band preforms in the Old Courtroom.

Mar
3
Sat
Junior Girl Scout Program: Mystery in the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Junior Girl Scout Program:  Mystery in the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

The Junior Girl Scouts are called to the scene of a robbery at the Old Courthouse Museum. Complete activities and put the clues together to discovery who the culprit is!

-Dust for Fingerprints

-Analyze Handwriting

-Learn Chromatography

-Collect Trace Evidence

-MORE!

Who: Junior Girl Scouts (grades 4 & 5)

Where: Old Courthouse Museum, 320 S. 5th Avenue, West Bend 53095

Fee: $9.00/Girl Scout or adult. Cash, check, or credit cards. Due to limited space, only registered Junior Girl Scouts may participate.

REGISTRATION and PAYMENT REQUIRED by February 23, 2018. Each Girl Scout must be registered by a parent or guardian. Troop leaders may attend for no charge but, please, no additional parents. Badges not included.

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

Mar
11
Sun
Tea Dance with Mike Mattek @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 11 @ 2:16 pm – 3:16 pm
Tea Dance with Mike Mattek @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Mike Mattek will be teaching brief introductory lessons on the Waltz, Tango, Charleston, Mambo, and Samba to help you get on the dance floor. A wide variety of ballroom dance music will be played for general dancing.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

1:00 –4:00 Workshop/Free Dance & Tea – $20

2:00 – 4:00 Free Dance and Tea Only – $15

Advance Reservations Appreciated

 

All Proceeds Benefit the History Center Washington County

 

Mar
20
Tue
Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Dig out your family treasures, dust them off, and bring them to Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul. Mike Paul is a professional appraiser and auctioneer of Paul Auction Company, Inc. in Kewaskum.

Mike will share his incredible knowledge of antiques with the audience as he examines each piece.

Even if you don’t have anything to share, this evening is fun & informative.

$5.00/non-member. Free/WCHS Member. Please, only ONE ITEM per person.

Don’t have an item? There’s no charge to watch.

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.

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!

2018 DATE: Check here late 2017 for updates.

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.