History Center Project

New History Center

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Project Vision

The Wisconsin Historical Society is among the nation’s oldest, largest and most active state historical societies, with a history dating to 1846, and we steward one of the most significant collections in North America. We are carrying that legacy into the future with an unforgettable history center that is worthy of, and will provide unprecedented access to, our state’s world-class historical collections.


The idea of a new history museum has existed for nearly two decades, with bipartisan support from Govs. Tommy Thompson, Jim Doyle, Scott Walker and Tony Evers, as well as the State Legislature. Now, we are bringing that vision to life. Construction of the new history center is scheduled to begin in 2024 and expected to be completed in late 2026.

Phase 1: 2018-2021

Site Secured
Design Team Selection
Storyline & Exhibit Concept
"Share Your Voice" Statewide
Phase 2: 2022-2023

Architectural & Exhibit Design
Statewide Community Engagement
Former Museum Closure
Temporary Pop-up Space secured & Opened

Behind the Design

The building design embodies the state of Wisconsin through the use of local materials, by incorporating purposeful sightlines to the surrounding landscapes, and through the rich cultural influences reflected in the center’s tones, textures, and patterns, as well as the storytelling experiences within.

Stewarded by the Wisconsin Historical Society in partnership with a world-class architectural and design team of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, SmithGroup and Continuum Architects + Planners, the five-story building is poised to be one of the nation’s leading history experiences.

Community Engagement

Wisconsin’s new world-class history center will be a result of extensive community engagement seeking diverse perspectives from across the state.

The Wisconsin Historical Society heard from more than 5,500 community members as part of the Share Your Voice series that traveled Wisconsin in 2018-2019, and we continue to engage residents through robust outreach efforts including public presentations, a Native Nations Council, community consultations, classroom sessions, donor meetings and more.

Support the Project

A new history center is the Wisconsin Historical Society’s biggest undertaking ever. To make it a reality, we need the support of bold, visionary, engaged people who believe in the power of history to make a difference. We’re counting on the support of people who understand the value of investing in transformational projects to benefit our past, present and future.

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Come for a behind-the-scenes look at the project and stay for the fun facts and diverse stories of Wisconsin’s history!

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History Maker Space

Hosting pop-up exhibits, author talks, public programs, a new retail shop and history center sneak peeks during the construction of the new building

History Makers Tour

Bringing history directly to local communities in every region of the state through pop-up exhibits, artifact displays, public programs, art installations, and more!