(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

Jul
13
Thu
Temporary Exhibit: Washington County Association for Home and Community Education 80th Anniversary @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jul 13 @ 1:11 pm – Oct 7 @ 2:11 pm

Learn about the history of Home and Community Education and area Homemaker Clubs with this exhibit put together by the Washington County Association for Home and Community Education in honor of their 80th Anniversary.

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.

Aug
10
Thu
Pioneer Kids Day “Homesteading with Science” @ Old Courthouse Museum
Aug 10 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Pioneer Kids Day “Homesteading with Science” @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Find out how stumps were pulled, what wind power can do, why compasses work, and more!

Age: Open to children entering 1st-5th grades in fall.

Fee: $6/child before Aug 1. $7/child Aug 1 & after. Free for children of WCHS members at Family level or higher

REGISTRATION and PAYMENT REQUIRED by Aug 10, 2017. Each child must be registered by a parent or guardian. Please, no unregistered children or adults. Children may be dropped off NO EARLIER than 8:45am and must be PICKED UP promptly at Noon.

Register and pay online: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=9grf65jab&oeidk=a07ee2yzsz409ac35ac

Register by mail: http://www.historyisfun.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/PKDregsheet2017.jpg

Presented by Washington County Historical Society, Inc. Sponsored in part by West Bend Noon Kiwanis

Sep
7
Thu
It’s in the Details: Architecture Tour & Trip to Tower @ Old Courthouse Museum
Sep 7 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
It’s in the Details: Architecture Tour & Trip to Tower @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

See the Old Washington County Courthouse in a new way! Discover architectural details, learn the meanings behind the symbolism, and trace the construction of this local and national landmark. Climb to the balcony level of the tower and see features rarely seen by the public.

Patrons must wear sensible shoes and be able to climb steep stairs (109 steps from 1st to 6th floor).

$8/WCHS members, $12/non-member. Register and pay at www.HistoryIsFun.com. Due to very limited space, advanced payment is required.

 

Sep
12
Tue
It’s in the Details: Architecture Tour & Trip to Tower @ Old Courthouse Museum
Sep 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
It’s in the Details: Architecture Tour & Trip to Tower @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

See the Old Washington County Courthouse in a new way! Discover architectural details, learn the meanings behind the symbolism, and trace the construction of this local and national landmark. Climb to the balcony level of the tower and see features rarely seen by the public.

Patrons must wear sensible shoes and be able to climb steep stairs (109 steps from 1st to 6th floor).

$8/WCHS members, $12/non-member. Register and pay at www.HistoryIsFun.com. Due to very limited space, advanced payment is required.

Sep
19
Tue
Frozen Water Trade @ Old Courthouse Museum
Sep 19 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Frozen Water Trade @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Eileen Eckert of Barton Historical Society will remember the forgotten industry of ice harvesting.

Before electric refrigerators and mechanical ice making technology, ice was cut from frozen ponds, lakes, and rivers and sold to meat packing and brewing companies, as well as to residential ice box owners. Explore the many inventions that enhanced ice production, an industry that rivaled cotton in the 19th Century.

Eileen will also present her drawings and paintings that depict the rise and fall of the ice harvesting industry.

No charge.

Oct
3
Tue
Oshkosh Museum Bus Trip @ Old Courthouse Museum
Oct 3 @ 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Enjoy the morning at the gracious Paine Art Center featuring “Wonderland” Photographs by Kristy Mitchell.  A family style lunch will be served at Roxy Supper Club. In the afternoon, we will explore the EAA  museum and end with shopping at   Oaks Candy Corner for a sweet treat.   $55 person – Includes: motor coach, lunch, & admissions fees. Bus leaves from History Center, West Bend.

Oct
11
Wed
Imprisoned Spirits: Paranormal Museum Tours @ Old Courthouse Museum
Oct 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Imprisoned Spirits: Paranormal Museum Tours @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Are the Old Washington County Courthouse and Old Jailhouse in West Bend haunted? Visit areas in both Museums where bizarre and unsettling phenomena have been experienced.

90-minute guided walking tours leave promptly at 7:00pm and at 8:30pm. Meet in front of Old Courthouse Museum 15 minutes before tour time. 320 S. 5th Avenue, West Bend, WI 53095

$8.00/WCHS member, $12.00/non-member.

Not recommended for children under 12 due to adult themes.

@ Old Courthouse Museum
Oct 11 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
 @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Are the Old Washington County Courthouse and Old Jailhouse in West Bend haunted? Visit areas in both Museums where bizarre and unsettling phenomena have been experienced.

90-minute guided walking tours leave promptly at 7:00pm and at 8:30pm. Meet in front of Old Courthouse Museum 15 minutes before tour time. 320 S. 5th Avenue, West Bend, WI 53095

$8.00/WCHS member, $12.00/non-member.

Not recommended for children under 12 due to adult themes.

Imprisoned Spirits: Paranormal Museum Tours @ Old Courthouse Museum
Oct 11 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Imprisoned Spirits: Paranormal Museum Tours @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Are the Old Washington County Courthouse and Old Jailhouse in West Bend haunted? Visit areas in both Museums where bizarre and unsettling phenomena have been experienced.

90-minute guided walking tours leave promptly at 7:00pm and at 8:30pm. Meet in front of Old Courthouse Museum 15 minutes before tour time. 320 S. 5th Avenue, West Bend, WI 53095

$8.00/WCHS member, $12.00/non-member.

Not recommended for children under 12 due to adult themes.

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 week between Christmas and New Year and the first two weeks in January.

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.