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The Polk County Historical Society

Invites you to visit the

Polk County Museum- Old Courthouse

Open Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend

MISSION STATEMENT:  Preserving the past for future generations by establishing a unique and enduring collection of Polk County history, shared with the public through educational programs and exhibits.

   Handicap Accessible / Air Conditioned  

120 Main Street
 Balsam Lake, Wisconsin 54810
Call for Information and Tours:
715-485-9269.  Thank you for visiting our website.
e-mail: [email protected]

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday noon to 4 pm

                           No Fee for Admission- Donations Appreciated and Sustain our Efforts


Click here to see ByLaws

Built in 1899, the Polk County Museum was the Polk County Courthouse until 1975. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an absolute treasure. You'll find three floors of galleries just bursting with items; some dating back as far as the Revolutionary War! Most of what you'll encounter is from the early 1900's.          
Visit our exhibit; 9,000 year old Bison  Bones' Back-ground on this phenomenal exhibit; in 1934 a farmer in the St. Croix River Valley (between Minnesota and Wisconsin) presented the University of Minnesota with several large animal bones.  The bones were discovered by accident at a marl dredging pit, east of Dresser in Nye, dated to the late Pleistocene. The Society was part of a team that helped bring the 'Bones' back to Polk County.
Immerse yourself in the history of the Polk County people during the Logging Era with a visit to the newly redesigned Logging Room.  Explore the impact  of the Logging industry in the St. Croix River Valley.  Preview some of our Exhibits under the About


2018 Summer Events


The Polk County Historical Society

Will be hosting the following traveling Exhibits;

No fee for admission

Sponsored by funds recieved from The Amery Lions Club and 

Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation


John Muir Exhibit Banner

August 10th –   Labor Day Weekend  

Wisconsin's John Muir: An Exhibit Celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service

On loan from the Wisconsin Historical Society


Special Event- Friday August 10th 6:30

Polk County Museum, Balsam Lake

Guest Speaker, Dr.  Dave Clausen, presenting an introduction to Wisconsin’s John Muir.

Friday August 10th 6:30 pm

Light refreshments

Commemorating the centennial of the National Park Service, the traveling display "Wisconsin's John Muir: An Exhibit Celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service" explores Muir's youth in Wisconsin, his advocacy for national parks and his views on environmental issues such as logging, hunting and climate change.

John Muir (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) also known as "John of the Mountains", was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism has helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas

Its eight panels share facsimiles of images and manuscripts from the Society's library and archives alongside Muir quotes and interpretive texts.

The Muir display and reading program is funded by bequests from John A. Peters and the Kenyon and Mary Follett family.



WWI Beyond the Trenches: 

Stories from the Front

On loan from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

On the evening of June 14th the Polk County Historical Society hosted 
an open house honoring Wisconsin's WWI Veterans, with displays "WWI Beyond the 
Trenches: Stories from the Front," on loan from the WI Veterans Museum.

Society President Jason Whitley introduced Polk County Historical 
Society member and historian, Dr. Larry Smetak, who  presented an 
inspiring program honoring our Veterans, invited the fifty visitors who 
had gathered at the Polk County Museum to share their memories and 

Sharing stories of their father, WWI Veteran, Ray Thompson of Milltown, 
were his sons Bob and Garry (who also loaned our museum many

artifacts and belts from the war).  Dr. Smetak concluded his presentation with 
a group sing a long of; "You're a Grand Old Flag," by George Cohan,
written for that era.

Visitors enjoyed light refreshments and a tour of the Museum's Veteran Exhibit.  

Over 122,000 Wisconsin men and women served on land, sea, and in the air during World War I.  The Wisconsin Veterans Museum marks the centennial of the First World War with the opening of a major exhibit featuring an up close and personal look at the Great War through the eyes of Wisconsin veterans.

WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front uses the Museum’s rich collection and first person accounts to bring to life Wisconsin’s role in shaping global history.  


Students from Amery, Frederic and Unity toured the Museum, treated to an 
exciting program by Chief Dan Mosay of the St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa,  
history tours, and a visit to the Lanesdale one room school house    

July Freedom Fest, the Polk County Museum will celebrate  Freedom Fest. July 7th and 8th. Join us and cool off at our Annual Root Beer Float Fundraiser.



Thanks to a Grant from Polk-Burnett Electric, Operation Round-Up

we are looking forward to the exciting  2018 Summer Sessions 



The Polk County Historical Society is offering two, three day sessions of Pioneer Schooling held at the restored, Polk County Lanesdale Rural School in Balsam Lake. 

Tuesday thru Thursday, August 8, 9, 10th and August 15, 16, 17th.

To make this program successful, we suggest the children, are ages 6-14. Students dress as children did in the 1900’s; costume’s available at school.  School Marm Tammy, provides the children with a unique and fun learning adventure. 

Questions and Enrollment can be directed to Tammy 715-485-9269 or email us  [email protected]




giveBIG SCV 2018 EVENT, and hope you will continue to

support our mission and programming, bringing history alive for every




Link to giving

Please visit us at;

The Polk County Historical Society Appreciates our Sponsors


                       Hardenbergh Foundation

                       HUGH J. ANDERSEN FOUNDATION




  St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake




  Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative- Operation Round-Up



Xcel Energy





This page updated  7/28/2018

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Polk County Museum / Historical Society Balsam Lake, WI Phone: 715-485-9269
  Email: [email protected]