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I don’t know about you, but I love open-air museums that let you actually step back in time and experience history in an immersive way. Old World Wisconsin is a gem, just like that, which is certainly worth a visit.
Old World Wisconsin Eagle Wisconsin reminds me of Connor Prairie in Indiana – as there are costumed living exhibits that really live their role and explain it well.
All About Old World Wisconsin
There isn’t an Elementary school in Southern Wisconsin that hasn’t traipsed their kids through here – at least until COVID-19 struck. As this is owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, there are NO live tours right now – only virtual ones. That is for the safety of both their staff and patrons.
Old World Wisconsin History
In 1976, the museum was created and soon grew to be the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States.
Richard Perrin was the driving force behind this as he was all over Wisconsin in the late 1960’s talking about preserving our heritage.
in 1959. Perrin published a guide book in 1960 titled Historic Wisconsin Architecture listing 76 structures in Wisconsin that he felt were worthy of preservation. Perrin first proposed the idea for an outdoor museum in 1964 in the form of a “Pioneer Park”. Perrin’s inspiration for the park actually dated back to a trip he made to Europe in 1953 and visited European outdoor museums including Skansen in Sweden which he used as his model for the Wisconsin Park.
When partnered with the Wisconsin Historical Society, things moved fairly fast. Buildings were relocated to the site until they needed to pause for an environmental impact study – and then to deal with the concerns of the citizens of Eagle Wisconsin.
Soon things were back on track and the different sections were set up: Scandinavian Homesteads, Crossroads Village, and Life on the Farms.
The Scandinavian Homesteads cover different areas with Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish areas. The Life on the Farms covers the German, Polish, and African American movements. Crossroads Village covers the life of the “Yankees” with the entrepreneurial spirit of a small town in the 1880’s with merging cultures.
Old World Wisconsin Tours
Thanks to COVID-19 as I mentioned there are NO live tours right now , but they will be back.
Old World Wisconsin Virtual tour
Compared to a lot of places, they have done a fantastic job with this! All digital field trips come with a 45-minute experience, access to additional educational content for use at the teacher’s discretion, and a technology check before the digital experience. Pick 1 field trip or all 3!
The choices are:
- School in One Room (about one-room schoolhouse reality)
- Immigrant Stories
- STEM on the farm
It is an incredible program they put together that words for not only IN the classroom, but for all those schools that are working with distance learning too. It opens it up to schools across the country, if you ask me, and is fantastic for a teaching moment!
These have been fully developed and will remain IN ADDITION to the live tours, once those open back up.
Old World Wisconsin Events
These too, have been altered since the pandemic. While they had many Special Events like fun things over the holidays and summer camps? They are on a temporary hold. Their online calendar has been pulled from their website until further notice. You can’t even get information for Old World Wisconsin weddings right now.
Old World Wisconsin Scavenger Hunt
I don’t know about you, but it can be fun to to use a Scavenger Hunt when playing at a place for the first time – and, I didn’t find one online for Old World Wisconsin. So – we made one!
Old World Wisconsin Gift Shop
While the fun on-site gift shop is currently closed to the public, you can get your Wisconsin historical goodies online – click HERE.
Old World Wisconsin Prices
Currently, with no live tours, the Admission prices are irrelevant. Normally, it was:
Adults (ages 18-64) is $19; children (ages 5-17) $10; free for ages 4 and younger; $16 for adults age 65 and older. Fees included an all-day tram transportation pass and parking is free.
Old World Wisconsin Membership
While membership has privileges, Old World Wisconsin is part of a historical collective. You are really getting a membership to the Wisconsin Historical Society that comes with a ton of perks:
- Free admission* to all 12 historic sites and museums during regular operating hours – THIS alone is worth the cost! It is just $85 for a family of 2 adults and kids under $18!! Visits to TWO sites is more than the History Explorer membership
- 5-issue subscription to the Wisconsin Magazine of History—now also available as an e-publication on your computer, tablet, or smartphone (excludes History Explorer level)
- 2 one-time use historic site guest passes to bring a friend or family member along
- 10% discount on all Society special events, webinars, workshops and
conferences (including the annual Local History-Historic Preservation Conference)
- 10% discount on books, historic image prints, genealogical records, and more
- One year of Columns, the Society’s informative and colorful print
newsletter—available in print and online
- Invitations to exclusive member events throughout the state
- A subscription to the Society’s Weekly E-Newsletter with news, events, and fascinating facts
Old World Wisconsin Location
W372 S9727 Hwy 67 in Eagle, WI 53119
Hotels near Old World Wisconsin
There are several fun places to stay in the area, one of our favorites is the Eagle Centre House Bed and Breakfast. As an authentic replica of an 1846 Greek Revival-style stagecoach inn, situated in the scenic Southern Kettle Moraine, it has plenty of space and rooms to accommodate you.
The Kettle Moraine Cottage Bed & Breakfast is another great choice, with yummy food, cozy rooms, beautiful landscaping, and flowerbeds.
Not into the rustic setting or homey feel of a B&B – no worries. There is a Quality Inn & Suites close by in East Troy that even has an indoor pool.