Research Center and Archives
Visit with the Swepet family this holiday season. Enjoy their 27 room dollhouse, all decorated for Christmas! Includes a new mini exhibit titled “Souvenirs From the Swepet’s World Travels”, highlighting dollhouse artifacts from around the world!
The Museums and Research Center will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy eating!
Did you ever wonder how museum exhibits are made? Curator of Collections and Exhibits, Janean Van Beckum, will explain the process of exhibit creation and design from the bottom up using the Zinn Dollhouse exhibit as an example. Learn how museums decide what artifacts to accept and how exhibits are researched, designed and installed. After the program, take a self-guided tour or complete a scavenger hunt of the Zinn Dollhouse, which will be decorated for Christmas!
The Museum and Research Center offices will be CLOSED Monday, Jan. 1 and Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. We will be back on January 3rd!
Discover what your neighbors collect during the 11th annual Collection of Collectors.
Collectors share their interesting & unique passion. You’ll learn something new during this fun, informal, & FREE program.
Includes FREE admission to the Old Courthouse Museum. Museum hours are 9:00am-3:00pm.
If you have 2 of something, it’s a collection! And it doesn’t have to be old!
Want to share your collection? Contact Tori at email@example.com or (262) 335-4678 to register your collection. It’s FREE to participate and all ages of collectors are welcome!
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.
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
Curator of Archives
Research Center Assistant
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**
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.
- 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.
- 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.