(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

Mar
29
Wed
Silverbrook Intermediate School Student Art Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 29 @ 11:00 am – Apr 28 @ 5:00 pm
Silverbrook Intermediate School Student Art Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

A selection of art from the student of West Bend’s Silverbrook Intermediate School will be on exhibit through April 2017.  Be sure to see the talented young artists’ work!

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.

Aug
10
Thu
Pioneer Kids Day: Homesteading with Science @ Old Courthouse Museum
Aug 10 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

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.

Download a registration sheet to register by mail.

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!