2021 theme: "Remembering."

How is history preserved and passed down?

Events are subject to change. Please check back frequently.

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! Watch Facebook in case a rain date is in order. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. 

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. Watch Facebook in case a rain date is in order.

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). ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. Masks required indoors.

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 and the pledge of allegiance led by members of Portage American Legion Post 47. Civil War reenactor and genealogy enthusiast Rita Apolonia Dow will present the riveting story of her husband’s ancestor, Charles C. Dow, as she traces his journey with the renowned Iron Brigade (2nd Wisconsin, Company G) from Portage to the war-torn fields and farm lots of Gettysburg. Free event. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. Masks required indoors.

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. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. It is possible that masks might be needed at times if working in close quarters with others outside your own household/group during hands-on portions of the workshop; please bring a mask along just in case that scenario happens. Masks required indoors. 

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), historical outdoor games, and a visit from an 1830s itinerant 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.  ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

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. Tonight, Landscape Historian Rob Nurre kicks off the speaker series with an engaging first-person portrayal of Increase A. Lapham, surveyor-turned-historic-preservationist on a campaign to record the earthen record of Wisconsin’s Indigenous cultures.  Free event.  ***Most lectures take place outdoors. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.)  *Note: Mr. Nurre's presentation will take place inside the visitor center.

Co-sponsored by:

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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. ***Outdoor event. Masks are not required outdoors. Please social distance. However, whenever physically participating within the dig zone, masks will be required when close proximity to others is largely unavoidable and sustained. Masks are also required indoors. As always, please do not attend if you have symptoms of illness, have been recently exposed to Covid-19, or are or are positive for Covid / awaiting results of a Covid-19 test.

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. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

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. Adrienne Thunder, Director of the Ho-Chunk Language Division, will address the importance of oral history and cultural preservation.***THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO JULY 20 due to unforeseen circumstances. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

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. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

Sponsored by: The Antiquarian Society of Wisconsin in memory

             of Olive "Cissy" Bryson 

Speaker Series Part 2:
Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for part 2 of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event. Adrienne Thunder, Director of the Ho-Chunk Language Division, will address the importance of oral history and cultural preservation. (Note: This lecture was moved from July 13 to July 20. The Frederick Jackson Turner lecture originally scheduled for this evening will now take place on Thursday, July 29.) ***Planned as an outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required if moved indoors.) 

Booth at the Columbia Co. Fair

Thursday - Sunday, July 22 - 25, 2021

Visit our booth at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Portage!

Speaker Series Part 3:
Wisconsin's History Keepers

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for part 3 of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event. Archivist, historian, and author Peter Shrake will round out the speaker series tonight with a lecture on Milo Quaife, a prominent conservator of Wisconsin’s written past within the archival setting of the Wisconsin Historical Society.***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

Speaker Series Part 4:
Wisconsin's History Keepers

Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 6:30 pm

Join us for the fourth and final installment of our "Wisconsin's History Keepers" speaker series. Free event. Agency House director and curator Adam Novey will highlight the life and work of Portage native Frederick J. Turner, one of the most influential and controversial historians of the American frontier.***Planned as an outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required if moved indoors.) 

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 3)

Friday, July 30, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for part 3 of historical Wisconsin storytelling and fire-wrought dugout canoe making! Watch Facebook in case a rain date is in order. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. 

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 nature hike is FREE, but a donation is greatly appreciated. ***Outdoor event. Masks may be required if social distancing is impractical. Please bring one just in case. (Masks required indoors.)

Led by: 

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Enduring Skills Weekend

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

This is a large 2-day, must-attend event for all ages!

Many historical skills and techniques would be lost to time were it not for those who continue to practice and research 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. Ages 5 through adult. Free admission. Have you ever tried blacksmithing? Flintknapping? Ancient copper pounding? Played the game of graces? Quinze? Started a fire with flint and steel? Washed clothes on a washboard? Written with a quill pen? Made a 19th century toy? Have you ever danced a 19th century reel? Learned how to make soap? Spun wool? Made a fire-wrought dugout canoe? Sung Civil War songs or done Civil War military cooking? How about weaving? Hand quilting or rag ball-making? Butter making? Now's your chance!***Please refer to Enduring Skills Web Page (see below) for Covid policies for this event.

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 and fire-wrought dugout canoe making! Watch Facebook in case a rain date is in order. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. 

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. Author Kathe Crowley Conn will be joining us, too! Free event. ***Mainly outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

Sponsored by: Community Bank of Portage

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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).

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). ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. (Masks required indoors.) 

Stories of Wisconsin: Dugout Canoe Project (Part 5)

Friday, September 24, 2021 | 6 - 8 pm

Join us for the 5th (and possibly final?) evening of historical Wisconsin storytelling and fire-wrought dugout canoe making! Watch Facebook in case a rain date is in order. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance. 

Scouts BSA "Camping & Cultures" Weekend

Friday - Sunday, September 24 - 26

Calling all Scouts BSA troops! Join us for a terrific weekend of history, camping, hiking, and more. Earn the entire Historic Trails Award over the weekend, too! Troops from across the state will have the opportunity to learn, camp, socialize, and earn the Scouts BSA Historic Trails Award here at the ancient gathering point of the Fox - Wisconsin portage. Free event. ***Mainly outdoor event. (Masks required indoors.) 

Sponsored by: Associated Bank 

Mobile Museum at "The Other Side of the Anvil," Galena, IL

Saturday - Sunday, October 16-17

Visit our mobile museum booth at "The Other Side of the Anvil" in Galena, Illinois: a two-day live music fest with an opportunity to do some hands-on blacksmithing. A beer and wine tent, food, a bake sale, and broom tying demonstrations are planned, as well.  

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! ***Covid policy coming soon.

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. ***Outdoor event. Please social distance.

Events: 2021