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The Society Resource Center houses the organization’s collections, offices and research area.  Its original tin ceiling, wood floors and plaster walls were revealed through the restoration of the building. 


The building was awarded an Historic Preservation Excellence Award in 2014 by the Wisconsin Association of Historic Preservation Commissions.  Exhibits that feature items from the Society’s Collections change annually.



Monday - 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Thursday - 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Additional Summer Hours through August 31

Friday - 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Saturday - 10:00AM - 2:00PM

Closed July 4th

Closed Labor Day


No Admission Fee!




Office hours throughout the year are Mondays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m.


On those two afternoons the office hums with the activities of volunteers who are either filing, clipping or sorting historical documents and artifacts that have found their way into our office.

We can always use more hands to help with this work.  Call for more information on volunteering. 


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The Port Washington Historical Society is proud to present a Walking Tour of Franklin Street in Historic Downtown Port Washington. Visitors can use a paper map, or using the QR reader on the phones or storefronts to hear about the history of 20 unique and historic buildings in the district (numerous built during mid-1800s). Contact the Historical Society for more information.

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Historic building markers give a graphic image of the history of Port Washington, appeal to residents and visitors, and recognize an owner's work in the building's restoration.  Historical Markers can be placed on the buildings which are part of the Franklin Street Historic District or are on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Port Washington Historical Society’s purpose is to collect, preserve and maintain items relevant to the history of the Port Washington area, north of Grafton, east of Saukville and south of Belgium, including its geographical location, commercial, agricultural, genealogical, developmental and maritime history. Collection items pertain to maritime, and/or Port Washington area history, either by direct association, family, or business connection. Items are catalogued according to PastPerfect, and storage is managed as carefully as possible according to best practices.


Collections cover a wide range of objects, archives, photographs and library materials. Collections include the Bienlein-Burke Maritime Collection, the Wiening Photograph Collection of lake freighters, the Ambrose Mayer Photograph and Item Collection, the Wisconsin Chair Company/Paramount Record Collection, Smith Bros. Collection and the Port Washington Breweries Collection. Collections extend across the city’s history of businesses, its residents and local organizations. Research materials and files are available for community access.

The Port Washington Historical Society actively enriches its collections through donations of archival material, objects, photographs and documents which assist us in illustrating life in the Port Washington, Wisconsin area.

Do you have an artifact, document or photograph that you wish to offer to the Historical Society? Contact us to discuss making a donation to our Collections. Photographs of the item, anything you know about its history and a brief comment on its condition can help us determine whether it is suitable for our Collections.

For a detailed outline of our acquisition procedures, please download our Collections Policy below.

What type of items does the History Museum collect?

We collect items that were made or used in the Port Washington area. Ideally, we would like to know where/when/by whom the item(s) were used. Some examples include:

  • Photographs and videos

  • Letters, journals, & home account books

  • Business/organization/government records

  • Antique Clothing

  • Manuscripts

  • Archaeological Artifacts

  • Maps

  • Maritime Objects

  • Historical objects

  • Oral Histories

  • Books and Pamphlets

  • Newspapers

The Port Washington Historical Society is currently digitizing a portion of our photographs using PastPerfect® Web.

When complete, visitors will be able to search our extensive historical photo collection using a variety of metadata fields and submit a request to license them for use.



When will my donation be

on exhibit?

Archival Questions

What type of items does the History Museum NOT collect?

The Historical Society does not guarantee artifacts will ever be exhibited. Once an object, document or photo is donated, it immediately becomes available to staff and researchers who are working on a variety of projects.

We cannot predict what specific uses your items will have, but your generosity will instantly and permanently expand the amount of artifacts and information available to the public!

Have a question about our collections or archives?


Click below to contact us with your question and our staff will get back to you shortly!

Items are reviewed by members of the Collections Committee to determine if the items fit within the guidelines of the collections policies. The collections focus is on the Port Washington area. Individual items are evaluated by how they fit into Society purposes and mission, their overall condition, and the ability for the Society to care for the items.

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