Kenosha History Center

1968 AMC AMX-R – Jeffords AMX – arriving at Kenosha History Center for new AMX exhibit
Peter Pirsch fire truck, Rambler Gallery, Kenosha History Center
one room schoolhouse, Yesteryear Gallery, Kenosha History Center
toy exhibit, Kenosha History Center

***Please note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kenosha History Center is currently closed. The museum's Facebook page is a great place to engage.***

Museum on Kenosha’s harbor features the history of Kenosha County, including its early settlement and industrial history, and a gift shop.

Visit the Yesteryear Gallery – from settlement to 1900 see how Kenosha County developed and grew. See the Upson Oxcart, a Barn Raising & Fanning Mill, Blacksmith Shop, Railroad Depot, General Store, Barbershop, One Room School, and more. Learn about Christopher Latham Sholes and the Bain Wagon Company. The Lyman Gallery in the lobby features various shop fronts, including a Photography Studio, a Millenary, and more.

In the Rambler Legacy Gallery – see how Kenosha’s auto-making legacy shaped history through the 20th Century. Displays on the perimeter of the gallery include replicas of Thomas B Jeffery building, 1896 Fire Station No 4, and a Dentist office from the Willowbrook Sanitarium. The gallery also features a re-creation of the Sterling Bicycle Factory. Also see the permanent exhibit: Kenosha’s "Lost Industries" from 1850s thru 1970s. 

Come see the Miniature Statue of Liberty from Civic Center Park! This statue was erected in 1950 with a ceremony in Civic Center Park. It was a gift to the city by local Boy Scout troops to mark Kenosha’s 100th anniversary as an incorporated city. Its home is now inside the Kenosha History Center.

Now part of the museum's collection: The Women's Collection and Public Freedom/Private Space. The process which led to the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment was a long and often bitter fight. In the 1800s women faced a challenge from the structure of society itself: divided into separate spheres, women had influence in the private world of their families but were denied significance outside. The rise of shopping as an activity is one of many significant changes as the 19th century turned into the 20th which helped break the idea of separate spheres. Here was something women were intended to do unescorted, having the personal agency to interact with goods and salespeople without the buffer of a chaperon. Even as women broke into the public sphere, their public freedom helped redefine their private space. Instead of all of the trappings of life being chosen for her, a woman could design her own private sphere. Public Freedom/Private Space, a new exhibit at the Kenosha History Center, looks at snapshots of these two changing spheres in the form of the department store and boudoir, between 1900 and 1930. Artifacts in the exhibits are drawn from The Women's Collection, collected and donated by Dovie Horvitz. The Women's Collection comprises over 1300 items—ranging from research material to clothing to make up—which reflect the lives of common women from 1850 to 1950. This is the first-time artifacts from the Women's Collection will be on display in the History Center, and the exhibit takes a close look at the history and significance of the collection. The Kenosha History Center is excited to present this new collection to our community, and the museum owes a debt of gratitude to the excellent student interns who have worked on the collection and this new exhibit with the staff of the museum: Caytlin Meribela and Jennifer Stumme from Carthage College and Rebecca Collins from UW-Parkside.

The Kenosha County Historical Society was founded in 1878 to preserve, research and present the cultural heritage of Kenosha County and Southeastern Wisconsin. The Society moved to its present location in 2001; naming its museum the Kenosha History Center. The building was built in 1917.

The museum is always looking for volunteers – to work as docents (interpretive guides), museum greeters, catalogers, archival processors, clerical assistants, and to work on special projects and events.

Visit the archives by appointment. Adult and school group tours welcomed. Facility rentals available. Free parking.

The Kenosha History Center and the Southport Light Station Museum (open seasonally and by appointment), located on the same grounds, are operated by the Kenosha County Historical Society.


The museum is free; donations are appreciated.

Learn more in this Featured Business article.

Open Tues.-Fri. 10am-4:30pm, Sat. 10am-4pm, Sun. 12-4pm

  Travel Green Wisconsin Certified. Read about here.

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