Wisconsin Historical Society Sites
Wisconsin is rich with heritage, culture and history, which are fascinating to explore. Many historic properties have been preserved so visitors today can become part of the story of the early chapters of Wisconsin’s history. At these Wisconsin Historical Society sites, don’t just observe the roots that made the state what it is today—roll up your sleeves and journey back in time by participating in these interactive opportunities for learning and exploring.
A truly unique experience to go beyond being an audience member, Circus World takes visitors on a behind-the-scenes tour of the original Ringling winter headquarters. From exploring where the animals were cared for to the magnificent site of the largest collection of stunning, authentic circus wagons on earth, visitors gain a whole new appreciation for the making of the circus before it rolls into town. Kids are invited to jump through hoops of (pretend!) fire, dress up and practice the tricks of a trained circus animal and perform magic as they put on their own performance at the Kids’ World Interactive Circus. Come one, come all—clowning around is welcome here!
Capturing what made Wisconsin Dells famous through photography, the H.H. Bennett Studio is the oldest operating business in Wisconsin Dells and is believed to be the oldest operating photography studio in the country. Embark on a scenic tour of the Wisconsin River, jump to Stand Rock and tour Bennett’s 1875 studio as you use hand-held stereoscopes to view one of the photographs he produced; then use the latest in technology to experience his work in the museum’s 3-D imaging lab. Explore these amazing works through interactive exhibits bringing the photography to life—a one of a kind studio experience!
Step back in time to the late 19th century when immigrants settled in Wisconsin in search of a better life and abundant opportunity. Old World Wisconsin is like a settlement left untouched as the surrounding community evolved into the modern world we live in today. Historic farming methods, a traditional village including a blacksmith, shoemaker and general store, one-room schoolhouse, heirloom gardens and the breeds of livestock that would have been essential to the settlers are all found here. Roll up your sleeves and experience the chores and food preparation methods people of the era used before the conveniences of today were available. Although it’s not all work with no time for play—kids will have the opportunity to play the games and enjoy the crafts popular at the end of the 19th century—no modern technology needed!
Stonefield – Cassville
Wisconsin has a rich agricultural heritage, and the industry is still vital to the state’s economy today. Stonefield offers a glimpse of farming around the turn-of-the-century through their re-created rural farming village and 1901 farmstead. Explore farm tools used then and the evolution leading up to the ones used today. Learn about this important chapter of Wisconsin history the best way possible—completely immersed in surroundings as they would have looked decades ago. A true blast into the past!
Imagine a time when travel was by stage coach rather than automobile. Trading stop lights and SUVs for horses, stage coaches and plank roads, Wade House was a hotel built by Yankee settlers to house 19th century travelers passing through the area. Today, the property features a museum housing the most extensive collection of carriages, sleighs and wagons from the period. Visitors can also tour the inn and learn from guides dressed in period attire, see real work happening in the blacksmith shop and view the steps of an operational water-powered sawmill. Looking for a full day of organized educational fun for the kids? Sign up for Civil War, Needle Arts or Pioneer Day Camp—the most fun they will ever have in a history class!