our museum campus

Nestled in the scenic rolling Ice Age Kettle Moraine countryside of Eastern Wisconsin, the Manitowoc County Historical Society is a museum of living history.  Feel the heat from the blacksmith's forge, take part in one-room school lessons, and find your ancestor's name in our archives.  

This 60-acre interpretive museum of local history features a Welcome Center with local history exhibits and research services and the outdoor Pinecrest Historical Village - a collection of over 25 historic buildings with period furnishings from Manitowoc County's early settlers.  

 
 
McAllister House Welcome Center, 2016

McAllister House Welcome Center, 2016

Mcallister house welcome center

The McAllister house is believed to be the oldest standing farmhouse in Manitowoc County.  Originally located on Plank Road in Manitowoc Rapids, the home was built by Hiram McAllister, one of the first settlers of Manitowoc County who came to the area in 1837.  

After working his 178-acre farm for many years, McAllister returned to New York State in the 1870s.  Other owners of the property included John Landreth, Henry and August Eberhardt and Agon Haupt.
 
On May 1st, 2013, the McAllister House opened at Pinecrest Historical Village, following a successful $200,000 campaign to transform the building.  Each year, thousands of visitors will cross the wide plank pine floors and explore history inside the walls of hand split lathe that once provided shelter to Manitowoc County pioneers such as Hiram McAllister and the August Eberhardt family. 

The building includes local history exhibits, research library and archives, as well as the Society's administrative offices. 

 
Pinecrest Historical Village, 2002

Pinecrest Historical Village, 2002

Pinecrest historical village

“Someone had a dream and today we see partial fulfillment of that dream,” declared Armond Kueter in opening remarks of the dedication of Pinecrest Historical Village on June 26, 1977

The man who had that dream was the late Joseph J. Rappel, who had been a Manitowoc school teacher, and Mrs. Hugo Vetting and her husband, who wanted her girlhood home preserved and donated the 40-acre site to the Manitowoc County Historical Society for the village.

Kueter said “this village is dedicated to the citizens of Manitowoc County”.

On November 13, 1969 the Board of Directors met to consider a generous offer from Hugo and Eleanor Vetting for the donation of their 40-acre homestead for the purpose of creating a historical village. The Board of Directors supported the wish of the Vetting’s that Eleanor’s childhood home, the Sorenson Family house, be moved to the site as soon as legal transactions were completed.  Action was taken immediately to move the Sorenson home to its new location to begin Pinecrest Historical Village.

 
Inside the Discovery Village General Store

Inside the Discovery Village General Store

discovery village

Welcome to a space made just for kids to play, explore, and learn. Visit the Discovery Village with young visitors and venture through miniature structures full of educational hands-on activities and play experiences. 

Organize fruits and vegetables.

Sort the mail.

Stamp your train ticket.

Be the school teacher.

And more!

 
Kunze House garden

Kunze House garden

heirloom gardens

Heirloom gardens add another dimension to your museum experience. Eye-catching blossoms, fragrant herbs, luscious fruits and rows upon rows of colorful vegetables all vie for your attention, but they're also used regularly by village interpreters for preparing meals in the historic kitchens, dyeing fibers, medicinal preparations  as well as decorations and craft projects.

Garden tours with an experienced horticultural interpreter can be arranged throughout the season.

 
Meeme House Inn, 2015

Meeme House Inn, 2015

meeme house inn

Follow the journey of restoring the historic Meeme House Inn, livery stable, and poll house.