The museums are open to the public free of charge. There are regular operating hours but both can be opened by request. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need access beyond posted hours. To request additional access, call 608-776-8340 at least two business days in advance of your visit. Contact US
School field trips: We can customize the experience to area of study and grade level. The society has grant funding to cover transportation costs for schools.
HISTORICAL & GENEALOGY SOCIETY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
525 Park Place (Main St.) Darlington, WI. 53530
Location – The “Old” Carnegie Free Library building, which faces Veterans Park on Main street, next door to the “New” Johnson Public Library which faces E Catherine St. There is ample parking on all four sides — street parking to the north, south and west of the park, and city parking lots on both E Catherine St. and Wells St.
Access – Built in 1905, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2022, the building is not “ADA Compliant.” However there is stair-less access. The lower level can be reached by a ramp with railing from the side entrance, and the upper level, by a powered chair lift. All entrances are served by paved city sidewalks.
History – The Andrew Carnegie Free Library was built in 1905 and remained in use as a library until the new library building was completed in 2000. Purchased by the Historical Society it remains to this day a library with the original bookshelves intact. Anyone interested in Carnegie Libraries is encouraged to visit. The building has been modernized through the years with regard to lighting, heat, and floor coverings. The community room in the lower level became the children’s library in the 1980, and that space was renovated to become a display room and large meeting space (resembling 1900’s décor) in 2019. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2022 with the help of the State of Wisconsin Historical Society and grant funding available to non-profit organizations.
Hours – 1 to 4 pm, M-F although staff is generally on site with the “open” sign lit by 11:00 am. Look for the “open” sign or call ahead to be certain, if finding us closed will be inconvenient. If other hours are desired call ahead to make arrangements.
- Artifact displays on every aspect of county history including home, school, church, business, military, clothing, household items, uniforms, toys, tools and more. Displays are frequently changed to showcase various topics, or time periods.
- 14 original oil paintings by renowned artist Laverne Kammerude, portraits of persons significant to the county, original paintings by Florence Bennett, Frank H Engebretson, Jim Jacobson and others
- Historical Archives including indexed records of people places and events. Extensive collection of books on the history of the county and its communities, and businesses. Plat books and a wide variety of maps, county and school records. Archives
- Genealogy Archives include a vast collection of family trees and family histories, birth, death, and marriage indexes, cemetery records and obituaries. Genealogy
- Photo Archives include historical photos of people places and events
- Office Machines – our books don’t leave the premises but our scanner and copier can be used to preserve your research for a small fee.
- Group meeting space available to the public by request
- Museum Shop – Many books and other items for sale including large and small prints of Kammerude paintings, and painting of County Courthouse. SHOP
DARLINGTON DEPOT MUSEUM & WELCOME CENTER
S Washington Street and the Cheese Country Recreation Trail (ATV’s) near Ann Street in Darlington.
Location – perfect for Campers and ATV visitors to stop in on summer weekends, the Depot sits between the ATV trail that was once part of the railroad bed, and Pecatonica River Trails Park Campground. There is ample parking beside the building.
Access – the Station Building is at ground level. The Warehouse building is about 4 stair steps higher and wheelchair accessible by a ramp from the paved campground side of the buildings to the deck with entry to both buildings.
History — Built in 1889. After the trains stopped running it was owned by the Kiwanis Club which worked with local Boy Scouts to preserve and restore it. They added the adjoining warehouse structure in 1997. The two buildings were originally connected but the warehouse had been moved and repurposed. When it was moved back it had to remain separate from the Station building to accommodate a water main. The two are connected by a deck between them. The Historical Society has owned them since 2006.
The buildings have been repaired, landscaped, re-roofed and re-painted with the generous assistance of the community including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kiwanis Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, Darlington High School Students, Jim Mathys, Frank Graham, Robert and Emaline Bond, Mandy Wolf, DUWI, Dave Reed, Darlington Community Fund, Brad Wilborn, Dale Zywicki, Joe Boll, and more.
Hours – 1 to 4 pm, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Additionally we open for special events or other hours by request. Call ahead and we will do our best to accommodate you.
- the Station Building has a model railroad, train equipment, framed photos and descriptions of local railroad events, railroad and travel artifacts, and a collection of Florence Bennett paintings of county train depots.
- The Warehouse Building has displays related to area industry including dairy farming, mining, creamery, Badger State Mineral Water (the pop factory), movie theater, early banking and more.
- The Station is also a Visitor Welcome Center with information on tourist attractions of the surrounding area.