It is appropriate that Old World Wisconsin was opened in 1976. There could no better way to commemorate 200 years of American history than by vividly re-creating the sights, sounds and spirit of this country at its birth.
The museum’s more than 60 historic structures range from ethnic farmsteads with furnished houses and rural outbuildings, to the 1880s Village with its traditional small-town institutions. The efforts of countless historians have preserved an amazing slice of true Americana — one that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Historic Structures Documented
To create this museum, researchers traveled throughout Wisconsin in search of authentic historic buildings hewn by generations of Wisconsin settlers.
From Lake Superior to the Illinois border, and from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, historians documented many old farmhouses, outbuildings, and small-town structures.Once the research was complete, the amazing construction process of Old World Wisconsin began.
Structures Relocated to Build Old World Wisconsin
Piece by piece, workers painstakingly dismantled the old structures. They numbered bricks, boards and logs, and moved them to the site of Old World Wisconsin. In a setting largely unchanged from the rolling prairies the first pioneers found, the buildings took shape once more, reconstructed precisely as they had once been built.
World’s Largest Museum about Rural Life
Today, Old World Wisconsin’s historic farm and village buildings comprise the world’s largest museum dedicated to the history of rural life.