(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

Research Center and Archives

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.

The primary mission of the Research Center and Archives at the Washington County Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and make accessible materials that concern the history of Washington County and the people who have made it home.

The Research Center and Archives is located on the third floor of the Old Courthouse Museum at 320 S. 5th Avenue in West Bend.  We do conduct research for those who are unable to visit.  Click the icon below to make a Request for Research.

Visit The Research Center

Contact:

Heather Przybylski
Curator of Archives

research@historyisfun.com
(262) 335-4678

Anne Molineu
Research Center Assistant

anne@historyisfun.com
(262) 335-4678

Hours:

Wednesday – Friday 11am to 5pm
Saturday (1st and 3rd of month only) – 9am to 1pm
Closed the first two weeks in January for inventory.

Appointments are recommended.   **Please allow a minimum of 1 hour for research**

Fees:

Daily Research Fee:  $5/person, daily fee is waived for HCWC members.  To become a member click here.

Photocopies:  $0.25/letter $0.50/ledger

Photo Reproductions:  Call for pricing

Research Requests:  $25 for the first hour and $20 for each additional hour

Please note that the Research Center does not accept credit cards at this time.  Cash or Check only.

Visiting Guidelines:

  • Please verify that we are open the day you are planning your visit by calling 262.335.4678
  • Please note that for large research requests or projects it may take us some time to gather materials. When organizing your project please keep that in mind.  Large requests for information without at least 3 weeks notice will incur an additional fee.
  • Be sure to bring cash or checks. As of right now the Research Center does not accept credit cards.
  • With a group of 4 or more please call ahead to make an appointment.
  • Materials are for use in Reading Room only. Materials are non-circulating.
  • Feel free to bring your laptop, but know that we do not have public access to our wi-fi.
  • Pencils are to be used in the Reading Room. No pens.
  • Scanners of any kind are not allowed.
  • Briefcases, bags, backpacks, purses and laptop bags are not allowed.
  • No food or beverages.
  • In respect of fellow researchers no cell phones. (If you must have phone access, use vibrate setting and take calls in lobby)
  • No adhesive materials such as sticky notes or gum.
  • We reserve the right to refuse copy requests.

Resources and Collections

The Collections of the Research Center and Archives only concern Washington County.  Materials can be accessed in the Reading Room.  Some of our materials are shared here in our Digital Collection.

  • Church and Cemetery Records – Consists of copies of church records and cemeteries of Washington County.
  • Local History Books
  • City Directories and Telephone books
  • Photograph Collection – Consists of over 16,000 photographs of Washington County.  Reproductions can be made of most of the images in this collection.
  • Probate Court Records– Contains 7,600 case files beginning in the 1850’s
  • County Newspapers on Microfilm
  • Census Records on Microfilm
  • Naturalization Records on Microfilm
  • Map Collection– Includes Plat Maps (digitized versions can be found here), Sanborn Maps, City Maps as well as others.
  • Real Estate Assessment and Personal Property Tax Rolls
    • Note: Not all townships, villages, cities, and years are available.
  • School Records – The collection consists of school censuses, annual reports, ledgers, and newspaper clippings for the schools of Washington County.
  • Yearbooks
  • Surname Files– The Surname Files are files on individuals who lived in Washington County that we have information on.
  • General Vertical Files (Additional Resources)– The Additional Resource files are an assortment of subjects, businesses, and industry in one location.