Fall events at the Museum

Get hands-on with sensational science and spooky activities this October at Science on the Square (Oct. 14) and Downtown Trick-or-Treat (Oct. 26). Be there, if you dare!

Fall events at the Museum

Get hands-on with sensational science and spooky activities this October at Science on the Square (Oct. 14) and Downtown Trick-or-Treat (Oct. 26). Be there, if you dare!

Explore the Stories that Made Wisconsin

History is a story with many voices, always growing and evolving—a story we tell together. At the Wisconsin Historical Museum, you’ll immerse yourself in fascinating and diverse stories of people and places from Wisconsin history.

Explore the state’s diverse and dynamic past through engaging exhibits, fascinating historical objects, and hands-on experiences that focus on Native Nations and Tribes. Enter a replica of a 1,000-year-old house and examine a fur trade post.

A new history center is on the way! 

Artifacts are on the move! We’ve got big news to share as we move one step closer to the construction of the new Wisconsin history center. This state-of-the-art space will invite visitors to engage with history in an exciting new way and more than double the museum’s current footprint.

Our exhibits will close as we start to pack artifacts for safe storage. “People of the Woodlands” will remain open through Nov. 27. Plan your visit today before these exhibits close!

The fun doesn’t end here! The museum will continue to host walking tours, special exhibitions, and other exciting programs.


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Best Deal in History!

Becoming a member is the best way to explore Wisconsin history. Members get free admission to our historic sites and discounts on special events!


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Collecting, Preserving and Sharing Stories Since 1846.

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Celebrate the Wisconsin Historical Museum!

Join us today for one final visit to the current Wisconsin Historical Museum before the exhibits close to make way for the construction of a new history center. Enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, Museum Store Sunday retail specials and a book talk/crafting activity for kids with Susan Apps-Bodilly, author of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book "Seeds in Soil."

While museum exhibitions will be closed after Nov. 27, the Wisconsin Historical Museum retail store will remain open throughout this holiday season and 2023. The Wisconsin Historical Society will continue to serve residents and schools statewide in the time leading up to the opening of the new history center, with special programs and exhibitions planned for a new transitional space as well as the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

To learn more about plans for the new History Center, click here: wihist.org/3tSOk6C
... See MoreSee Less

7 hours ago
Celebrate the Wisconsin Historical Museum!

Join us today for one final visit to the current Wisconsin Historical Museum before the exhibits close to make way for the construction of a new history center. Enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, Museum Store Sunday retail specials and a book talk/crafting activity for kids with Susan Apps-Bodilly, author of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book Seeds in Soil.

While museum exhibitions will be closed after Nov. 27, the Wisconsin Historical Museum retail store will remain open throughout this holiday season and 2023. The Wisconsin Historical Society will continue to serve residents and schools statewide in the time leading up to the opening of the new history center, with special programs and exhibitions planned for a new transitional space as well as the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

To learn more about plans for the new History Center, click here: https://wihist.org/3tSOk6C

On this day in 1838, after moving from the temporary capital in Burlington, Iowa, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature assembled in Madison for the first time.

Two years earlier, when the territorial legislature had met for the first time in Belmont, many cities were mentioned as possibilities for the permanent capital -- Cassville, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Platteville, Mineral Point, Racine, Belmont, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, and Wisconsin City.

Madison won the vote, and funds were authorized to erect a suitable building in which lawmakers would conduct the people's business. Progress went so slowly, however, that some lawmakers wanted to relocate the seat of government to Milwaukee, where they also thought they would find better accomodations than in the wilds of Dane Co.

When the legislature finally met in Madison in November 1838 there was only an outside shell to the new Capitol. The interior was not completed until 1845, more than six years after it was supposed to be finished. On November 26, 1838, Governor Henry Dodge delivered his first speech in the new seat of government.

📸: Capitol (Second): WHI ID# 6969
... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago
On this day in 1838, after moving from the temporary capital in Burlington, Iowa, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature assembled in Madison for the first time. 

Two years earlier, when the territorial legislature had met for the first time in Belmont, many cities were mentioned as possibilities for the permanent capital -- Cassville, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Platteville, Mineral Point, Racine, Belmont, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, and Wisconsin City. 

Madison won the vote, and funds were authorized to erect a suitable building in which lawmakers would conduct the peoples business. Progress went so slowly, however, that some lawmakers wanted to relocate the seat of government to Milwaukee, where they also thought they would find better accomodations than in the wilds of Dane Co. 

When the legislature finally met in Madison in November 1838 there was only an outside shell to the new Capitol. The interior was not completed until 1845, more than six years after it was supposed to be finished. On November 26, 1838, Governor Henry Dodge delivered his first speech in the new seat of government.

📸: Capitol (Second): WHI ID# 6969

Did you miss out on our 2020 exhibit on the history of women's suffrage? It's not too late!

The traveling display "'We Stand on Their Shoulders': A History of Wisconsin Women and Voting" is coming to Waupaca, starting on December 1st!

"We Stand on Their Shoulders" explores moments when women in Wisconsin gained political rights and highlights a few key leaders. Covering the ratification of the 19th Amendment, 1921 Wisconsin Equal Rights Act, 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, and 1965 Voting Rights Act, the eight-panel display shares the important story of women's quest for political rights and recognition through quotes, photographs, and a timeline of events.

The Wisconsin Historical Society currently provides this display to schools, public libraries, historical societies and civic organizations in Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more: wihist.org/3TYqv81
... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago
Did you miss out on our 2020 exhibit on the history of womens suffrage? Its not too late!

The traveling display We Stand on Their Shoulders: A History of Wisconsin Women and Voting is coming to Waupaca, starting on December 1st!

We Stand on Their Shoulders explores moments when women in Wisconsin gained political rights and highlights a few key leaders. Covering the ratification of the 19th Amendment, 1921 Wisconsin Equal Rights Act, 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, and 1965 Voting Rights Act, the eight-panel display shares the important story of womens quest for political rights and recognition through quotes, photographs, and a timeline of events.

The Wisconsin Historical Society currently provides this display to schools, public libraries, historical societies and civic organizations in Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more: https://wihist.org/3TYqv81