The Uplands of Southwest Wisconsin

Mount Horeb Area Museum

The local impact of a war across the country and the comfort of more than a century of quilts can be experienced along with the vast collections of the Mount Horeb Area Museum.

The Mount Horeb Area Historical Society marks the ongoing anniversary of the Civil War with “Ethnicity & Civil War,” a case exhibit, sheds light on immigrants who found themselves embroiled in a new national conflict shortly after arriving in Southwestern Dane County. “Stories in Stitches: Quilts of Southwestern Dane County,” in the Centennial Gallery, features quilts created from 1855-2001 from the Society’s extensive textile collections – along with their poignant stories.

There’s also the just-published book, “Mount Horeb Area Then & Now,” which revisits local sites captured in historic photographs and presents the same views today. The photos provide fascinating similarities and contrasts that invite viewers to prolonged contemplation.

The Mount Horeb Area Museum itself is no ordinary small-town display of artifacts. The museum’s ongoing exhibit “Ethnic Evolution in Southwestern Dane County,” tells the stories of seven ethnic groups that are predominant in the area in recent centuries: Hochungra, Irish, German, Norwegian, Scotch, Swiss and Yankee.

The main gallery exhibit of the 4,000-square-foot museum located just a half block off Main Street and a block up from the Military Ridge Recreational Trail uses profession- ally enlarged photographs, manuscripts, interviews, original art, background music and several hundred creatively arranged artifacts to reveal the unique local, state and even national contributions made by individuals in these seven ethnic groups.

The exhibit looks at forces that shaped these groups – settlement, war, industrializa- tion, religions, languages and the crossover of different groups sharing and adapting to each other’s customs and crafts. The self-guided tour offers visitors the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the area’s early settlers, traders and tradespeople, retail- ers and farmers, suffragettes and politicians, speculators and folklorists, artists and builders, pastors and boosters from well before statehood to the present. Scholars of American Ethnic History from Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and Edgewood College in Madison oversaw assembly of this exhibit.

The Museum Shop offers unique gifts including “Mount Horeb Area Then & Now” and other books, a variety of Wisconsin heritage items, cookbooks, reproduction wares, household décor, cards, prints and troll figurines. The Mount Horeb Area Museum has been recognized through significant community, county, state and private grant awards.

The museum is open May-December, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12:30-4 p.m. on Sunday. It’s located at 100 S. Second St. in Mount Horeb. Admission is free and donations are welcome.  

Mount Horeb Area Museum

100 South 2nd Street Mount Horeb, WI 53572

Phone: 608-437-6486