Old World Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Historical Society’s largest living history museum. Situated on 600 acres of lovely rolling Kettle Moraine countryside, Old World Wisconsin has a large collection of late 19th and early 20th century homes, barns and businesses gathered from around the state and carefully preserved. Open May – Oct., guests can experience the historic village area, take part in hands-on activities, see heritage breed animals and explore two dozen heirloom gardens.
In Spring see the start of two dozen gardens at Old World Wisconsin. Created by a historical gardener with the help of a team of volunteer gardeners and museum staff, these gardens are historically accurate in both design and the selection of plants, carefully representing the time period and ethnicity of the sites they complement. You will be able to see hundreds of varieties of heirloom plants, such as:
- At the 1860s German Immigrant Farm -there are 72 individual beds, showcasing a wide selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers that fill the entire front yard. Take note of the charming fences at our 1860s and 1870s German Farms. Who would have thought that buckthorn could be so useful!?
- In the Scandinavian Homesteads area, the 1860s Norwegian Immigrant Farm garden will feature a beautiful collection of dye plants, a fabulous stand of the herb Angelica and numerous small fruits.
- The 1880s Yankee Farm in the Crossroads Village has a newly renovated dooryard that reflects the changing times as we adjust our showcased restoration date from the 1860s to the 1880s. Across the driveway, in the kitchen garden, try your hand using some of our historical garden tools.
Old World Wisconsin gardens invite you to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, flavors, fragrances and textures of history, to experience the changing seasons and the cycles of life. Join us in the spring to help with planting and watch the hatching of seedlings. Come in the summer to witness the magic as the gardens grow lush and full. Return in the autumn to help harvest – and taste – the season’s bounty.
New Weekday Experience
For $5 a person Monday-Thursday, guests can take self-guided walking tours or a scenic train ride (additional $5 per person) and explore Old World Wisconsin at their own pace. Suggestions for weekday self-guided tours include: architecture, garden, nature, kids and more.
The weekend experience at Old World Wisconsin is available Spring-October and features more extensive hands-on activities with staff, including:
- Wheel Fever – taking a spin on a 19th-century tricycle
- Exploring the Crossroad Village where you can learn from local staff members about life in each village setting
- Roll up your sleeves to help with 19th-century farm work
- Help cook, garden, or try a craft, and then attend lessons in the one-room school in the Scandinavian homesteads
Special Events at Old World Wisconsin
- Mother’s Day Celebration May 12 from 10am-5pm • Mother’s receive free admission to Old World Wisconsin.
- Wiesn in a Box– A pop-up beer garden • May 25-26, June 1-2 and June 8-9 with cold Hofbrau beer and pretzels.
- Wisconsin wine tasting from 5:30-7:30pm on May 24-26
- Wine & Cheese Fest June 9 • Featuring wine and cheese from Wisconsin’s five wine regions.
- Father’s Day Celebration June 16 from 10am-5pm • Father’s receive free admission to Old World Wisconsin.
- Independence Day Celebration July 4 featuring 19th-century family-friendly activities such as ice cream making, fun and games and a parade.
- Historic Brewing Demonstration A hands-on experience to learn beer brewing techniques from the late 1800s using heirloom hops and barley grown at Old World Wisconsin. Dates include: June 1, 15, 29; July 13, 27 and Aug. 10, 24; Sept. 14, 28.
- Watch the Eagle Diamonds Enjoy both home and away games as part of your general admission when you visit on a game day. The games are a reenactment of baseball life during the 1870s with historic uniforms, base ball terminology and base ball rules. Dates TBA.