2021 theme: "Remembering."

How is history preserved and passed down?

Events are subject to change. Please check back frequently.

Pre-Season Prep

Any time!

We have a fantastic season of "Remembering" lined up in 2021! Before the season gets underway, we invite you to take some time to explore this topic with some enjoyable and educational activities related to preserving and passing down history. These activities are just as enriching for adults as they are for youth. Please enjoy with our compliments!

Guided History Hike on the Marquette Trail

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 10 am

Enjoy a guided tour along the historic Fox River on the beautiful and rustic Marquette Trail. The time when leaves are budding offers the best opportunity to experience the natural and historic beauty of this recreational gem. Meet outside the visitor center at 9:45. Children may participate if accompanied by a responsible adult. Our suggested donation is $5 per person to help us maintain our Stories of the Land Trailway.

Book Launch Event

Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 1 - 3 pm

Our new Historic Preservation Edition of Wau-Bun: The "Early Day" in the Northwest is hot off the presses! Be among the first to get a copy for yourself, family, and friends at our book launch. Even if you've read this fascinating 1856 classic before, don't miss this new edition loaded with extra features. Proceeds from the Historic Preservation Edition of Wau-Bun will contribute to the continuing preservation of the Historic Indian Agency House for the benefit of generations to come. The book will be available for purchase in our gift shop throughout the season. If you have a 2021 membership, you get $1 off every copy of Wau-Bun you purchase in our gift shop all season—no limit!

Opening Day

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Be the first of the season to enjoy an informative, engaging tour. We are open for tours Wednesday through Sunday each week through October 15.

School Tours Available

Wednesday - Friday, May 15 - June 11, 2021

Schedule a Wisconsin history experience for your students. You may opt for a modified in-person tour (with COVID precautions), a live virtual tour, or a "History on the Move" outdoor mobile museum experience at our site. Students will gain a hands-on understanding of the turbulent and fascinating times of pre-state Wisconsin. Make arrangements by email or phone (608-742-6362). 

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project

Last Fri of Month | May 28 - Sept 24, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Enjoy a relaxing evening listening to stories of Wisconsin's early days around a unique "camp fire." Each evening's story will be accompanied by progressing work on a fire-wrought dugout canoe! Working together, we will learn about and experiment with this ancient historical skill. Teens are welcomed to participate, as well, if accompanied by a responsible adult. A hot dog fundraiser will be held concurrently with each event, so come with an appetite for history and fun (and hot dogs!). Free event.

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Living History Days: Civil War

Saturday - Sunday, June 5 - 6 | 10 am to 4 pm each day

The year 1863 saw much action during the Civil War. Learn about this conflict from the perspective of those living on the home front during the third year of the war. Interact with skilled reenactors from the Historical Timekeepers group throughout the weekend.  Reenactment included in regular tour admission (member admission free).

Flag Day Celebration

Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 10 am

On June 14, 1777, the United States adopted the stars-and-stripes as its official flag. The flag has flown as a symbol of our nation and all it stands for over the past 244 years. Join us for a flag raising by a local Scouts BSA troop and the pledge of allegiance led by members of American Legion Post 47. Then listen to a riveting story relayed by a genealogist who traced an ancestor's journey with Wisconsin's renowned Iron Brigade from Portage, Wisconsin, to the war-torn fields and farm lots of Gettysburg. Free event.

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 2)

Friday, June 25, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for part 2 of historical Wisconsin storytelling, fire-wrought dugout canoe making, and hot dog eating!

Family Heirloom Preservation Workshop

Saturday, June 26, 2021 | 10 - 11:30 am

The Family Heirloom Preservation 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. Explore practical, low-cost, and accessible preservation solutions through an engaging presentation, group discussion, and hands-on demonstrations led by collections care expert, Nicolette B. Meister (James E. Lockwood Jr. Director, Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College)! Free event.

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Praise on the Prairie Event

& Preservation Fundraiser

Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Juliette Kinzie recalled the visit of Reverend Aratus Kent from Galena, IL, in 1833, and told of her Fort Winnebago sewing society’s efforts to work toward supplying a permanent minister at Fort Winnebago out on the fringes of the Wisconsin frontier. In the absence of a pastor, the Kinzies held Sunday afternoon gatherings at the Agency House which likely included many hymns played on Juliette’s treasured piano which had been hauled by boat from New York in 1830. Juliette’s faith and sense of charity were defining aspects of her life. Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket, and enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon of live Christian music (traditional and contemporary), old-fashioned outdoor games, and a visit from an 1830s circuit-riding preacher! In the spirit of Mrs. Kinzie’s sewing society, if you bring a blanket to donate to the Orphan Grain Train, you will receive a coupon for a free family tour of our museum. Our exciting new edition of Wau-Bun will also be available for purchase to raise funds for the continued preservation and operation of the Historic Indian Agency House. Please help us carry on the legacy! Free event.

Sponsored in part by:

Speaker Series:

Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesdays, July 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us every Tuesday night in July for some fascinating lectures. Our speaker series theme this year is "Wisconsin's History Keepers." Each speaker will focus on a unique aspect of the ways in which Wisconsin's history has been passed down through the generations. Learn about the contributions of Frederick Jackson Turner, Milo Quaife, Increase Lapham, and the oral history tradition of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Free event.

Co-sponsored by:

MuseumAtThePortage.jpg

The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Community Archaeological Dig

Sat - Sun, July 10-11 and July 17-18, 2021 | 10 am - 4 pm 

Come and work alongside professional archaeologists as we continue our search for the 1830s blacksmith shop in order to expand our historical understanding of how the Agency functioned. Pre-registration is strongly recommended for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience firsthand the fascinating process of archaeological investigation. Find details and reserve your dig time(s) through our Archaeology 2021 web page. Spectators are free. In order to dig alongside the archaeologists, a membership is required.

Sponsored by:

Blacksmithing Demonstrations 

Sat - Sun, July 10-11 and July 17-18, 2021 | 10 am - 4 pm

Live blacksmithing demonstrations are planned to coincide with our Community Archaeological Dig weekends. Explore the history and techniques of blacksmithing as we endeavor to locate the 1830s Agency blacksmith shop! Free event. 

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Community Archaeological Dig: 2nd Weekend

 July 17-18, 2021 | 10 am - 4 pm 

Come and work alongside professional archaeologists as we continue our search for the 1830s blacksmith shop. Pre-registration is strongly recommended for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience firsthand the fascinating process of archaeological investigation. Unearth and hold in your own hands artifacts that may not have been seen or touched for 200+ years! Find details and reserve your dig time(s) through our Archaeology 2021 web page. Spectators are free. In order to dig alongside the archaeologists, a membership is required.

Sponsored by:

Blacksmithing Demonstrations

 July 17-18, 2021 | 10 am - 4 pm

Live blacksmithing demonstrations are planned to coincide with our Community Archaeological Dig weekends. Explore the history and techniques of blacksmithing as we endeavor to locate the 1830s Agency blacksmith shop! Free event.

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Speaker Series Part 3:

Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for part 3 of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event.

Booth at the Columbia Co. Fair

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Visit our booth at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Portage!

Speaker Series Part 4:

Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for the fourth and final installment of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event.

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 3)

Friday, July 30, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for part 3 of historical Wisconsin storytelling, fire-wrought dugout canoe making, and hot dog eating!

Nature Walk

Saturday, July 31, 2021 | 10 am

Explore the natural beauty of our acreage on a hike guided by Tony Abate, Conservation Specialist with Groundswell Conservancy. Hikers will traverse three ecosystems during a 1.2-mile educational walk. Meet outside the visitor center at 9:45. Children may participate if accompanied by a responsible adult. The history walk is FREE, but a donation is greatly appreciated.

Sponsored by: 

groundswell-conservancy-horz.png

Enduring Skills Weekend

Saturday - Sunday, August 14-15 | 10 am to 4 pm each day

Many historical skills and techniques would be lost to time were it not for those who continue to practice them to this day. Try for yourself an exciting sampling of skills that have endured through the centuries or have been re-created through research and experimentation. Pre-registration is strongly recommended through our Enduring Skills web page. There is a plethora of fascinating offerings – different ones each day – for both adults and children. Spectating is free. Hands-on participation may entail varying fees. Children's hands-on stations are free for ages 5-12.

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 4)

Friday, August 27, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for part 4 of historical Wisconsin storytelling, fire-wrought dugout canoe making, and hot dog eating!

Girl Scouts Day

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Did you know that the founder of the Girl Scouts – Juliette Gordon Low – was the granddaughter of John and Juliette Kinzie who lived and worked here at the Indian Agency House in the early 1830s? We look forward to sharing an enjoyable day with Girl Scouts from all over the region. Free event.

Sponsored by: Community Bank of Portage

community bank of portage logo.jpg

School Tours Available

Wednesday - Friday, September 1 - October 15, 2021

Schedule a Wisconsin history experience for your students. You may opt for a modified in-person tour (with COVID precautions), a live virtual tour, or a "History on the Move" outdoor mobile museum experience at our site. Students will gain a hands-on understanding of the turbulent world of pre-state Wisconsin. Make arrangements by email or phone (608-742-6362).

Scouts BSA Weekend

Saturday - Sunday, September 4 - 5, 2021

Calling all Scouts BSA troops! Join us for a terrific weekend of history, camping, hiking, and more. Troops from across the state will have the opportunity to learn, camp, and socialize at the ancient gathering point of the Fox - Wisconsin portage. Free event.

Sponsored by: Associated Bank 

Associated Bank logo.png

Living History Day: 1830s

Saturday, September 18, 2021 | 10 am to 4 pm 

Have you ever wondered how people entertained themselves on a remote corner of the frontier? Find out at our Living History Day presented by the Galena Living History Society! Discover the amusements of times gone by.  Watch a melodrama, and participate by booing at the bad guy and cheering for the hero! Reenactment included in regular tour admission (member admission free).

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 5)

Friday, September 24, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for the 5th and final evening of historical Wisconsin storytelling, fire-wrought dugout canoe making, and hot dog eating!

History on the Move Available

Monday - Friday, November - April 

We bring a high-quality, interactive, personalized museum experience right to your school, elder care facility, or other community venue.

Made possible by:

Christmas at the Agency

Saturday, December 4, 2021 | 2 - 7 pm

Help support the Agency House at our "Christmas at the Agency' fundraiser.  Details TBA!

Kiddie Christmas

Saturday, December 11, 2021  |  1 - 3 pm

Join us for our 15th annual Kiddie Christmas event! Our outdoor history treasure hunt was so popular last year, we're doing it again...but with all new clues and treasures! Bring a bag to collect your goodies. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Recommended for children ages 5-12. Drop in any time between 1 and 3 pm. Free event.

Speaker Series Part 2:

Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for part 2 of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event.

Events: 2021