(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

A visit to The History Center of Washington County is something the entire family will enjoy.  Exhibits in the Old Courthouse have interactive activities and “Sniff Stops” to take all your senses back in time.  Our 27 room Zinn Dollhouse offers three fun scavenger hunts, kids can sit in a real wigwam and explore a fur trade post.  Borrow one of our tablets or use your phone to view videos which complement the exhibits.

Don’t miss the Old Sheriff’s Residence and Jail next door.  Join a guided tour where you will walk through the County Sheriff’s mid-20th Century home and place of work.

Our exhibits change regularly so there is always something new to see and explore.

 

Plan Your Visit

Hours

Old Courthouse Museum
Weds – Friday:  11 am – 5 pm
Saturday:  9 am – 3 pm

Sheriff’s Residence and Jail
Weds – Friday:  11 am – 5 pm
Saturday:  Please call ahead to check availability

St. Agnes Historic Site
By Appointment

 

Old Courthouse Museum

Old Sheriff’s Residence & Jail

St. Agnes Historic Convent & School

Admission

One Museum
MEMBERS and Children 5 and under:  FREE
Adults (17 -61):  $5.00
Children (6-16) & Seniors (62+): $4.00

Both Museums
MEMBERS and Children 5 and under:  FREE
Adults (17 -61):  $7.00
Children (6-16) & Seniors (62+): $6.00

Directions/Access

The History Center of Washington County is easy to find at 320 S. 5th Ave.  We are centrally located in the heart of Downtown West Bend and walking distance to MOWA, the river walk, specialty shops and restaurants. The entrance for the Handicap entrance and free parking is located off of Chestnut St. between 5th and 6th Ave.

Group Visits

Taking a personalized group tour through the Old Courthouse & Old Jailhouse Museums and/or St. Agnes Convent & School is a great experience for families and organizational members.

Group rate available for scheduled groups of 10 or more people.

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 Museums

The Washington County Historical society operates 2 museums and 1 historic site that preserve and tell the story of Washington County. Over 30,000 artifacts are part of the varied collections that tell the story of a county that harmoniously blended rural living and the industrial age.

History of the Old Courthouse Museum

Washington County was laid out by the Territorial Legislature in 1836 and was named after President George Washington. The county was organized for government in 1840 and a court system was established in 1845.

History of the Old Jailhouse Museum

The original wooden jailhouse that sat on the Old Courthouse Square was replaced with the existing brick building in 1886. The jailhouse was used as a jail until 1962 when the new courthouse and jail were built on Washington Street.

History of St. Agnes Convent & School Site

Founded in 1858, the Sisters of St. Agnes managed one of the first schools in Washington County, educating children of all denominations. The site highlights the triumph of survival over inexperience on the unsettled Wisconsin frontier; the drive to not give up but to seek success elsewhere.

Visiting Washington County

If you love history and culture, Washington County is a great place to visit.  We have a host of local historical sites and museums. While the Visit Washington County website has a complete list of things to do in the area at VisitWashingtonCounty.com,  here are few of our favorite historical sites and their events.

Germantown Historical Society: www.bastbellmuseum.com

Sila Lydia Bast Bell Museum: You will marvel at the 5000+ bell collection from Sila Lydia Bast who was born and raised in Germantown, WI 1900-1992.

Christ Church Museum of Local History: This iconic local landmark was built in 1862 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The congregation was founded in 1842 and is one of the oldest in Washington County.

Highlighted Events:  Germantown Hunsrucker Oktoberfest!  at the end of September

Museums open seasonal hours, please check the Germantown Historical Society website.

Richfield Historical Society www.richfieldhistoricalsociety

Messer/Mayer Mill and Mill House:  Learn how flour was processed through authentic equipment and tour the home built by the families.  Also, Pioneer Village offers log cabins and a barn with historic farm equipment.

Highlighted Events: Art at the Mill,  in July and the Annual Thresheree in mid-September.

Wisconsin Auto Museum wisconsinautomuseum.com

This wonderful museum showcases transportation history and features Hartford’s own Kissel Luxury automobiles.

Lizard Mound County Parkhttp://www.wisconsinmounds.com

Lizard Mound is considered one of the best preserved sites of its kind in Wisconsin with 28 intact mounds.  Walking trails and maps allow close access to the mounds.  Visit the new learning center located near the entrance to learn more about these amazing artifacts

Please check the website of the following local Historical Societies for programs and meeting updates.

Jackson Historical Society:   Open by Appointment only  www.villageofjackson.com

Kewaskum Historical Society:  Facebook Page

Farmington Historical Societyfarmingtonhistorical.blogspot.com

 

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