Our History Lives Here.



The Manitowoc County Historical Society collects, interprets, preserves, and promotes the history and heritage of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in order to educate the public and heighten its understanding and appreciation of the past as it proceeds into the future. 


Inspire curiosity and foster lifelong learning about Manitowoc County’s past by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences.


Our Story Begins

The Manitowoc County Historical Society, formed in 1906, is one of the oldest historical societies in Wisconsin. It is also one of the earliest societies to become an affiliate of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

MCHS was organized for the discovery, collection, preservation and publication of historical records and data of and relating to Manitowoc County, that establish the growth and progress of population, wealth, education, arts, science, agriculture, manufacture, trade and commerce.

The first president was Judge Emil Baensch. Other founders were Ralph Plumb, Dr. W. G. Kemper, John Schuette, James S. Anderson and Fred Christiansen of Manitowoc; H. P. Hamilton and W. F. Nash of Two Rivers; and Dr. Louis Falge of Reedsville.

The first meeting of the Manitowoc County Historical Society was held on January 13, 1906 at the Manitowoc Public Library on N. 8th and Chicago streets.  A group of 12 men were present including community leaders such as former Lieutenant Governor Emil Baensch, Judge James Anderson, John Schuette and H.P. Hamilton.  In the years since that first meeting, the organization they formed has grown into one of the State’s largest and most active local history organizations.

Pinecrest Historical Village dedication, Sunday June 26, 1977

Pinecrest Historical Village dedication, Sunday June 26, 1977

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Our Museum Today

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.

The Manitowoc County Historical Society is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth.

What began as an effort to preserve our Civil War and pioneer past has grown into one of the most active county historical societies in Wisconsin. It now serves over 12,000 visitors annually. Today, a professional staff of 1 full time and 1 part time members as well as over 200 volunteers welcome visitors from all over the world.

Learn more about our museum’s impact today through our Impact Reports.