In a time when our nation finds itself grappling with the stories of America's past and the significance of the material culture that has survived to the present, it is fitting to pause and consider the means by which the past is preserved, both by those who came before and by those who are stewarding history in our own generation.  How do we remember?​ 

Our 2021 themed programming carries the central idea of handing history down through time. Delivering history to the next generation requires a multidisciplinary approach. We have engaging events and hands-on workshops planned to encourage the public to think more deeply about how we look at the past; the work our ancestors have done to preserve history; and what can be done in the present to continue the stewardship of our heritage for the benefit of future generations.

Speaker Series

Our speaker series will be held on Tuesday evenings in July. This year, three of the four speakers will focus on the innovative individuals who were instrumental in handing down Wisconsin's history in their own unique ways. The fourth speaker will address the Ho-Chunk Nation's oral tradition of passing along history. These fascinating lectures are free to the public thanks to the co-sponsorship of the Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin and The Museum at the Portage.

Community Archaeological Dig

History is sometimes preserved right in the ground beneath our feet. Through archaeological excavation, we are able to reconstruct some aspects of history for which there is no written record. Archaeology helps us round out our understanding of what happened in the past. Join us for year two of our quest to locate and excavate the 1830s Agency blacksmith shop on our property. Unearth artifacts that may have last been touched by human hands 200 years ago or more!

Preservation Workshop

The "Preserving Family Heirlooms" workshop is a must-attend event for those who desire expert advice on how to best preserve antiques and heirlooms, from textiles to ceramics, paper documents to furniture, and more. Participants are even invited to bring along their own antiques and family heirlooms to share with the group and get personalized recommendations from the conservators. The event is free to all.

Enduring Skills Workshops

Historical skills which may otherwise have been lost to the annals of history are often preserved through modern practice, as in the case of blacksmithing, soap making, basket-weaving, and more. In other instances, historical methods must be carefully re-created through archaeological experimentation, as in the process of archaic copper working. We have a fantastic lineup of enduring skills stations at which adults and children may try their hand!

The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin has generously sponsored much of our 2021 seasonal programming in memory of Olive "Cissy" Bryson. Mrs. Bryson served as a past president of the Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin and was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Wisconsin, which is the governing board of the Historic Indian Agency House. We honor Mrs. Bryson and her passion for preserving history for the benefit of those who would come after her.

2021 Theme: Remembering

The Historic Indian Agency House

1490 Agency House Road, Portage, WI 53901


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