(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

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.

Feb
3
Sat
Lake Michigan Shipwrecks and Discoveries @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 3 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Great Lakes are known as the inland seas with powerful storms reaching up to hurricane force winds and ships disappearing beneath the waves.  The Great Lakes used to resemble a busy highway with ships crossing them; transporting natural resources, grain, cargo, and people. At times ships collided and sunk.  Join Capt. Jitka Hanakova as she takes you back in time from when the first ever ship, the Le Griffon, crossed the Great Lakes to discovering missing schooners, steamships, freighters, and even airplanes.  You will find out how these ships sunk and what they look like on the bottom of the lakes now – some still containing precious cargo of Christmas trees, Nash automobiles, and even a safe with gold coins.

 

Free with museum admission.

Feb
17
Sat
Matinee Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish” PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 17 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Matinee Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish”  PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

A rash of crimes have been haunting 1930’s Washington County and it is believed Chicago Gangster Freddy “The Fish” is responsible. Judge Bucklin will preside over this unique interactive evening where each guest is a victim, witness, juror or  “friend” of Freddy’s.  Period dress is popular and encouraged.  Based on real crimes and historical characters, and locations in Washington County and beyond.

Doors open at 2:30.  Matinee Dessert Trial tickets include an assortment of cookies, bars, chocolates, fruit and savory snacks and non-alcoholic beverages with a cash wine and beer bar.

Dinner Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish” PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 17 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Dinner Courtroom Mystery Trial: Trial of Freddy “the Fish”  PART ONE @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

A rash of crimes have been haunting 1930’s Washington County and it is believed Chicago Gangster Freddy “The Fish” is responsible. Judge Bucklin will preside over this unique interactive evening where each guest is a victim, witness, juror or  “friend” of Freddy’s.  Period dress is popular and encouraged.  Based on real crimes and historical characters, and locations in Washington County and beyond.

Doors open at 5:30.  The Dinner Mystery Trial tickets include a buffet by Catering by Bryan with salmon, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, red potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, tossed salad and dessert.  Includes ice tea and coffee.  Cash bar.

Feb
28
Wed
West Bend High School Band Concert @ Old Courthouse Museum
Feb 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The West Bend High School Band preforms in the Old Courtroom.

Mar
3
Sat
Junior Girl Scout Program: Mystery in the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Junior Girl Scout Program:  Mystery in the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

The Junior Girl Scouts are called to the scene of a robbery at the Old Courthouse Museum. Complete activities and put the clues together to discovery who the culprit is!

-Dust for Fingerprints

-Analyze Handwriting

-Learn Chromatography

-Collect Trace Evidence

-MORE!

Who: Junior Girl Scouts (grades 4 & 5)

Where: Old Courthouse Museum, 320 S. 5th Avenue, West Bend 53095

Fee: $9.00/Girl Scout or adult. Cash, check, or credit cards. Due to limited space, only registered Junior Girl Scouts may participate.

REGISTRATION and PAYMENT REQUIRED by February 23, 2018. Each Girl Scout must be registered by a parent or guardian. Troop leaders may attend for no charge but, please, no additional parents. Badges not included.

Contact Tori (262) 335-4678 or education@historyisfun.com to register.

Mar
11
Sun
Tea Dance with Mike Mattek @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 11 @ 2:16 pm – 3:16 pm
Tea Dance with Mike Mattek @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Mike Mattek will be teaching brief introductory lessons on the Waltz, Tango, Charleston, Mambo, and Samba to help you get on the dance floor. A wide variety of ballroom dance music will be played for general dancing.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

1:00 –4:00 Workshop/Free Dance & Tea – $20

2:00 – 4:00 Free Dance and Tea Only – $15

Advance Reservations Appreciated

 

All Proceeds Benefit the History Center Washington County

 

Mar
20
Tue
Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul @ Old Courthouse Museum
Mar 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Dig out your family treasures, dust them off, and bring them to Show ‘n’ Tell with Mike Paul. Mike Paul is a professional appraiser and auctioneer of Paul Auction Company, Inc. in Kewaskum.

Mike will share his incredible knowledge of antiques with the audience as he examines each piece.

Even if you don’t have anything to share, this evening is fun & informative.

$5.00/non-member. Free/WCHS Member. Please, only ONE ITEM per person.

Don’t have an item? There’s no charge to watch.

May
2
Wed
History of the Doughboy Monument @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 2 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
History of the Doughboy Monument @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

In honor of the opening of our new traveling exhibit WWII Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front courtesy of The Wisconsin Veterans Museum, our executive director Patricia Lutz will be presenting on the history of the Doughboy Statue.

Free with museum admission.

WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum
May 2 @ 3:00 pm – Jun 2 @ 4:56 pm
WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front  Traveling Exhibit @ Old Courthouse Museum | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Over 122,000 Wisconsin men and women served on land, sea and in the air during WWI.  WWI Beyond the Trenches, a traveling exhibit from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, features an up close and personal look at the Great War through the eyes of Wisconsin veterans using photographs and first person accounts.  This special exhibit is free with museum admission.

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

 

Save

Save