(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

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.

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!