(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

Upcoming Events

Oct
25
Wed
White House Christmas Ornaments (Temporary Exhibit) @ Old Courthouse Museum
Oct 25 2017 @ 7:17 pm – Jan 20 2018 @ 8:17 pm
White House Christmas Ornaments (Temporary Exhibit) @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

View 25 ornaments created by the White House Historical Association and learn about the presidents and era each represents.  Free with museum admission.

Nov
8
Wed
A Swepet Christmas (Temporary Exhibit) @ Old Courthouse Museum
Nov 8 2017 @ 7:36 pm – Jan 6 2018 @ 8:36 pm

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!

Nov
23
Thu
CLOSED-Museums and Research Center @ Old Courthouse Museum
Nov 23 – Nov 24 all-day

The Museums and Research Center will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Happy eating!

Dec
7
Thu
The Making of an Exhibit: The Zinn Dollhouse Edition @ Old Courthouse Museum
Dec 7 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
The Making of an Exhibit:  The Zinn Dollhouse Edition @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

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!

Dec
23
Sat
CLOSED-Museums and Research Center @ Old Courthouse Museum
Dec 23 – Dec 26 all-day
CLOSED-Museums and Research Center @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

The Museums and Research Center will be closed for the holidays from Saturday, Dec. 23rd through Tuesday, Dec. 26th.  Normal hours resume Wednesday Dec. 27th.

Jan
1
Mon
Offices CLOSED @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jan 1 – Jan 2 all-day

The Museum and Research Center offices will be CLOSED Monday, Jan. 1 and Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.  We will be back on January 3rd!

Research Center CLOSED for Inventory @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jan 1 – Jan 16 all-day
Research Center CLOSED for Inventory @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

The Research Center will be closed for inventory from Monday, January 1 through Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  Normal hours resume Wednesday, Jan. 17th.

The Museums are open during this time.

Jan
20
Sat
Collection of Collectors @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jan 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Collection of Collectors @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

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 education@historyisfun.com or (262) 335-4678 to register your collection. It’s FREE to participate and all ages of collectors are welcome!

 

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.

Financial

Click here to donate to the Annual Appeal

Thank you for your interest in supporting The History Center Washington County operated by the Washington County Historical Society through a monetary donation.  The Historical Society is a 501c3 organization and funding from individuals is an important part of our success.  Please download the form below to make a Memorial Gift, Honorarium Gift, Restricted Gift, or an Unrestricted donation.  If you have questions or are interested in information on how the Society can be included in your Estate Planning, please contact Patricia Lutz at 262-335-4678 or director@historyisfun.com .

We strain to listen to the ghosts and echoes of our inexpressibly wise past, and we have an obligation to maintain these places, to provide these sanctuaries, so that people may be in the presence of forces larger than those of the moment.

      — Ken Burns, Preservation Magazine January/February [2005]pg 16

Artifacts

The artifact and archival collections of the Washington County Historical Society range from prehistoric ceramics to mid-century clothing and modern day toys.

The museum accepts donations of artifacts that help in meeting our mission of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Washington County, Wisconsin. We rely on the generosity of donors to enhance and expand the collections.

What Types of Artifacts Does the Museum Accept?

We collect a wide variety of artifacts from prehistoric to present day.  Each potential donation is reviewed by the Curator of Collections and Exhibits to evaluate its appropriateness for the permanent collection.

Artifacts accepted into the collection generally meet the following basic criteria:

  1. The artifact has an Washington County connection and a known history or is representative of artifacts that would have been used in the County
  2. The artifact is in good and stable physical condition.
  3. The artifact is unique and not already over-represented in the collection.
  4. The artifact can be acquired without restrictions such as requirements for a long-term loan or permanent exhibition of the artifact.
What Happens After my Artifact is Accepted into the Collection?

If it is determined that an artifact is appropriate for the collection, the donor completes a Deed of Gift transferring legal ownership of the artifact to the Washington County Historical Society and the donor receives a copy of the Deed of Gift.  Donations may be tax deductible; however, IRS regulations and policies prohibit museum staff from appraising artifacts.  Donors who wish to receive a tax deduction for their donation should consult a tax professional and a qualified appraiser prior to completing the Deed of Gift.

When Will My Artifact be on Exhibit?
We cannot guarantee that any artifact will be exhibited and only a small fraction of the collection is on exhibit at any one time. Regardless of whether or not an artifact is placed on exhibit, it is a valued piece of history and as part of the collection will be preserved to allow future generations to learn about our cultural heritage.
How do I donate an Artifact?

Artifact Donations are by appointment only. Artifacts are acquired though donations, bequest, and short term loans.  No permanent loans are accepted.  The Museum will not assume any loans or donations with specific conditions or restrictions.

Have a an artifact you would like considered?  Contact Janean Mollet-Van Beckum, Curator of Collections and Exhibits, at 262-335-4678 or e-mail curator@historyisfun.com to make an appointment.

What does the Research Center and Archives Collect?

The Research Center and Archives is collecting materials that document people, places, and events of Washington County’s history.   Materials will be carefully cared for and preserved so they will serve as a research and information source for future generations.  Have documents, family papers, letters, photographs, maps, etc. that you are interested in donating to the Research Center and Archives? Contact Heather Przybylski, Curator of Archives, at research@historyisfun.com or 262-335-4678. Appointments are needed for all donations.

Other Ways to Support HCWC

Volunteer

Love telling stories and working with the public, or are you detail oriented and want to work behind the scenes? HCWC is always looking for volunteers to fill essential positions. Fill out an application or check out open positions on the Volunteer Center of Washington County’s website.

Become a member

Becoming a member of the History Center has many benefits!

Our members receive our outstanding newsletter “The Court Reporter” filled with information about the HCWC, articles about the history of the County and photos and information about exhibits and artifacts.

Members receive first notice of programs with fee discounts and discounts in the gift shop.  Members also enjoy unlimited passes to the Old Courthouse Museum and the Sheriff’s Residence and Jail. For more membership information click here, to join download and print the form below.

Shop

Browse for souvenirs and books by local authors in the Treasurer’s Vault Gift shop.

The Shop is located on the 1st floor of the Old Courthouse Museum, 320 S 5th Ave, West Bend, WI 53095. Hours are Wed-Fri 11-5 and Sat 9-3. No admission to shop.

Order some our most popular items from the Treasurer’s Vault Gift Shop online!