(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

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
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.

Egg Drop at the Museum @ Old Courthouse Museum
Jun 21 @ 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.

Jul
18
Tue
River City Irregulars Band Concert @ Washington County Veterans' Memorial Plaza
Jul 18 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
River City Irregulars Band Concert @ Washington County Veterans' Memorial Plaza | West Bend | Wisconsin | United States

Enjoy a summer evening performance of the West Bend Community Band, the River City Irregulars, on the Old Courthouse Museum Square. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

Bring a chair or blanket.

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.

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

Richfield Mll #4If 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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