Three local history museums that are worth the trip
Summer is a great time to explore the history of the Badger State. Throughout Wisconsin, you’ll find local history museums that tell the story of the state’s people and communities. In a state that is blessed with hundreds of outstanding local history museums, these three are among the very best.
The Logging Museum
Discover the world of the turn-of-the-century lumberjack at the Logging Museum in Rhinelander. Every manner of logging tool is on display here, along with photographs and exhibits illuminating the world of the lumberjack in the late 19th century.
The highlight of the museum is the 1870s lumberjack camp, complete with bunkhouse, cook shanty and blacksmith shop. You’ll get sense of what it was like to have lived and worked in the great forests of northern Wisconsin in a time before modern roads, plumbing and electricity.
For the Wisconsin history buff, the Logging Museum is a must-see attraction. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10am to 5pm daily. Learn more about the Logging Museum.
The Old Courthouse Museum
Widely thought to be one of the finest local history museums in the Midwest, the Old Courthouse Museum in West Bend is also hard to miss. The museum is housed in a tall, red-brick courthouse built in 1889 in the Richardson Romanesque Revival style. It’s the most prominent and beautiful building in town.
Inside, visitors will find the story of the people of Washington County told through artifacts and photographs. The museum’s exhibits begin with the ice age glaciers that shaped the landscape and continue on through the Industrial Age. If you’re hungry for more history, be sure to visit the Old Jailhouse Museum next door.
The Old Courthouse Museum is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 1pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4:30pm. Find out more about this outstanding museum.
Middleton Historical Museum
The Middleton Historical Museum is housed in a historic brick home built in 1868. This small museum contains information and artifacts donated by Middleton’s earliest settlers. You’ll also find one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Depression glass in the Midwest, featuring more than 150 identified glass patterns. The museum’s carriage house features a life-size horse and doctor’s buggy, as well as a variety of early farm implements and tools.
The Middleton Historical Museum is open from 1pm to 4pm Tuesdays and Saturdays from mid-April through mid-October. Additional exhibits can be found in Middleton’s Old Train Depot, which is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and from 10am to 2pm on Saturday. Get complete information about the museum.