(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 Jessica Sawinski Couch, Curator of Education, with questions. Call (262) 335-4678 or email education@historyisfun.com.

Upcoming Events

Apr
5
Wed
My Great Uncle Carl Quickert, Washington County Historian @ Old Courthouse Museum
Apr 5 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Carl Quickert (1869-1951) was a well known and personable local historian, accomplished poet, and newspaper man. He was intensely private, too. His 1923 book, The Story of Washington County, remains a source of early county history.

Quickert’s great-nephew, John Brauer, will share the life story of his great-uncle as well as insights into Quickert’s writing style and sources of inspiration.

Program is free with admission to the Old Courthouse Museum.

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

Apr
14
Fri
Good Friday Hours @ Old Courthouse Museum
Apr 14 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Old Courthouse Museum will be open from 9 am to 3pm on Friday, April 14th.  The Old Jail and the Research Center are CLOSED.

May
3
Wed
Wisconsin Remembers: A Face for Every Name @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 3 @ 11:00 am – Jul 8 @ 3:00 pm

Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum are pleased to share Wisconsin Remembers: A Face for Every Name – a traveling exhibit that features a photo for each of the 1,161 Wisconsinites officially listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C*. The exhibit also includes additional photos for names that are listed on The Highground Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Neillsville, WI. Wisconsin Remembers is a tribute to lost life and lost potential.

May
6
Sat
Blast Into the Past Family Day: 1970s Beyond Disco @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 6 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Blast Into the Past Family Day: 1970s Beyond Disco @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Experience the past at our free family-friendly, indoor-outdoor celebration! This year, we’re celebrating the 1970s Beyond Disco!

Answer U.S. Bi-Centennial Trivia. Rotary vs. Touch Tone phone dialing races. Guess what it is, 70s style. Try some sweet threads. Make a pet rock. Learn about 70s fads and try some far out dance moves.

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.

All activities are free. All ages welcome. Rain or shine.

May
16
Tue
Town of West Bend: Its First 150 Years @ Town of West Bend Hall
May 16 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Town of West Bend: Its First 150 Years @ Town of West Bend Hall | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Local historian and author Lee Krueger will share the history of significant locations in the Town of West Bend, including:

  • Lucas Lake and cranberry harvesting
  • Hoppe and Richter sawmills
  • Early days of Nabob
  • Lake resorts: Gonrings, Rosenheimers, the Linden Inn, Timmers, Steges, and Peters

Meet us at the West Bend Town Hall, 6355 CTY Z, West Bend 53095

Free. Everyone welcome.

May
29
Mon
Memorial Day Free Old Courthouse Museum Admission @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 29 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

memorialday_vetsdayEnjoy the Memorial Celebration on the Washington County Veteran’s Plaza then visit the Old Courthouse Museum for FREE!

Jun
21
Wed
Free Museums Admission Week for County Residents @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jun 21 – Jun 25 all-day

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 21 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/egg/drop, drop it 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.

 

The Old Courthouse & Old Jailhouse Museums will also be open Sunday, June 25 from 1:00pm-4:30pm.

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.

Jun
24
Sat
Egg Drop at the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jun 24 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Group-build a secure, drop-proof egg carton in the courtroom (or at home) for 1 raw egg. For $10/egg/drop, drop it 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.

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
13
Thu
Father Rehrl’s Rectory & Exhibit Open @ St. Agnes Historic Site
Jul 13 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Built in 1856, it was here that the Sisters of St. Agnes managed one of the first schools in Washington County, educating children of all denominations.

Within the fieldstone rectory of Father Caper Rehrl, the exhibit “From Mound Builders to Church Builders” highlights the triumph of survival over inexperience on the unsettled Wisconsin frontier.

No charge.

Aug
3
Thu
Father Rehrl’s Rectory & Exhibit Open @ St. Agnes Historic Site
Aug 3 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Built in 1856, it was here that the Sisters of St. Agnes managed one of the first schools in Washington County, educating children of all denominations.

Within the fieldstone rectory of Father Caper Rehrl, the exhibit “From Mound Builders to Church Builders” highlights the triumph of survival over inexperience on the unsettled Wisconsin frontier.

No charge.

For Teachers

DISCOVERY BOXES

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 

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

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.

Registration is now open! To register for individual classes, contact Jessica (262) 335-4678 or education@historyisfun.com.

Registration closes December 9, 2016.

Scouts

OLD JAILHOUSE MUSEUM VISITS

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

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!

2017 DATE: Saturday, March 4

For Adults

GROUP MUSEUM VISITS

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

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 Jessica Sawinski Couch, (262) 335-4678 or education@historyisfun.com.

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.