November 29, 2020
Villa Louis Historic Marker

9 State Historical Sites have reopened for tours and events

Villa Louis mansion

We’re in July, and now you’re able once again to climb aboard a train car at Circus World in Baraboo, tour Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, or immerse yourself in 19th century crafts and activities at Old World Wisconsin.

Nine Wisconsin State Historical Sites officially reopened July 1st, with some policy changes as a result of COVID-19. Advance reservations will be required for admission to tours and events, social distancing and limited capacity guidelines will be followed, and masks are strongly encouraged; they’ll even provide them on-site.

The 9 sites opening July 1st include:

Black Point Estate & Gardens, Lake Geneva: You can tour Black Point by using the Lake Geneva Cruise Line (262-248-6206), and you can book private picnics by calling 262-248-1888 to register. U.S. 12 and Highway 50 and 120 bring you town.

Circus World, Baraboo: While live performances are being scrapped for 2020, walking tours will be available. You can reserve a time by calling (608) 356-8341. It’s right along Highway 113 in Baraboo; U.S. 12 and Highways 33 and 136 also bring you to the city.

H.H. Bennett Studio, Wisconsin Dells: This beautiful and historic studio will be open for walking tours by appointment, as well as the Tintype Experience. Call (608) 253-3523 and then follow I-90/94, U.S. 12, or Highways 13, 16, or 23 to get to the Dells.

Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe: Open for walking tours, reserve your spot at (715) 747-2415. Follow Highway 13 to Bayfield and get a spot on the Madeline Island Ferry, (715) 747-2051, to get to Madeline Island (and check out Tom’s Burned Down Cafe, too!)

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle: This large complex of 19th century history will be open for small-group experiences. Make a reservation at (262) 594-6301 and then follow Highway 67 south of Eagle. Highway 59 approaches 67 from the north, and U.S. 12 and Highway 20 approach nearby from the south.

Stonefield, Cassville: Stonefield will be open for self-guided tours, but you still need to reserve a time by calling (608) 725-5210. Highways 81 and 133 lead you to Cassville.

Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien: The mansion and grounds, which also includes historic Fort Crawford, will accommodate private tours and walking tours. Call (608) 326-2721. U.S. 18 and Highways 27, 35, and 60 all bring you to PDC.

Wade House, Greenbush: The Historic Wade House will offer special events and workshops, reserve your spot by calling (920) 526-3271. It’s just south of Highway 23 in Sheboygan County.

Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison: Located right on campus across from the UW Memorial Union, the museum will be open for walking tours. Call (608) 264-6555 to make your reservation. U.S 151 is the closest state highway, but following University Avenue to Park Street (or using the Lake/Frances parking ramps a few blocks to the east) will be your best bet.

Some places remain closed, including the First Capitol Site in Belmont, Pendarvis in Mineral Point, and the Reed School in Neillsville.

Wisconsin Historical Society members are being asked to pay full price for events this summer to help the society cope with “a serious financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic,” but they will receive a free admission pass for 2021, even if they do not renew their memberships.

You can also enjoy virtual events throughout the summer. Have fun and go explore, safely!

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