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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

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday

12 Noon - 4p.m.

                                  No Admission Fees- Donations Appreciated and Sustain our Efforts


                                                                    Handicap Accessible / Air Conditioned  
          120 Main Street
           Balsam Lake, Wisconsin 54810
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. 








Please visit us at;

Remember the Polk County Historical Society, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3, as a potential recipient if you wish to make a contribution to a worthy cause. Your charitiable donation can be  made through the razoo link above, or through direct contact with the Society.  Thank you.                                                                        

                Contact Us: For quickest response please email
Call for Information and Tours:
715-485-9269.  Thank you for visiting our website.
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.

Come visit us soon and lose yourself in the rich heritage of this area.  There is an exhibit to fit almost any interest. Thanks to everyone for your continuing support, helping to contribute towards our goals!    Preview some of our Exhibits under the About tab.

2017 Museum Season

The Museum is excited to be hosting The Traveling Exhibit;
‘The Nostalgia Awakens: A Vintage Star Wars Toys Display’
On loan for the 2017 Museum Season(June through August).
Thursday evening, June 8th,Opening Night,Curator and owner, Jarrod Roll, discussed the cultural significance of the Star Wars universe and its vast impact on childhoods, storytelling, and popular culture. Mr. Jarrod Roll discussed his collection and explained how it evolved.  Follow our webpage and facebook for dates and more information.

The  following businesses have donated generously to help Sponsor,

The Nostalgia Awakens: A Vintage Star Wars Toys Display’, supporting the Society in providing the community with  educational entertainment that spans many generations, cultivating and sparking interest in learning.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Novitzke, Gust, Semf, Whitley & Bergmanis, Attorneys at Law

Bremer Bank, N.A., Amery

Lakeland Communications

Xcel Energy


Friday May 12, 2017 the Amery fourth graders toured the Polk County Museum in Balsam Lake, 
students were treated to an exciting program by Chief Dan Mosay of the St. Croix Band
of Lake Superior Chippewa.  Chief Mosay  presented a program on Anishinabe history, traditions and culture. 


May 16th Frederic 4th graders toured the Museum and experienced education as taught 100 years ago in the Lanesdale Schoolhouse, by their teachers.   

May 24th Unity 4th graders toured the Museum, enjoyed a program by Chief Mosay, and experinced school at the Lanesdale One Room Schoolhouse taught by Society volunteers.



                         Jack Michael Swenson, Turtle Lake High School

The Polk County Museum is important to the Polk County community because the museum allows visitors to
connect with our past and understand where we came from and how our ancestors lived.  The exhibits at the 
Polk County Museum give us a greater appreciation for those who settled
our area by allowing us to learn about the many struggles 
endured by those immigrants.  A visit to the Polk County Museum is important because it can help spark
conversations and understanding between generations of family and community members.
After a visit to the museum with my grandmother, Pricilla Fjorden, she shared stories of our family history.  
She told me the story of how our ancestors came to America on a boat from Norway, settled in Polk County, 
and become farmers who lived off the land.  Seeing the rudimentary tools in the farming exhibit
at the Polk County Museum, and discussing them with my grandmother,
gave me an appreciation for how hard my ancestors worked clearing and farming a small piece of land.  
All of the exhibits at the museum were of interest to me as they helped me see how much technology has simplified
every aspect of our lives, from school to farming.  So much has changed in a relatively short time, and I am very lucky
because my family has a great appreciation for our family history. 
We have many photos and an expansive written record of our history in Polk County. 
My great-aunt Sara DeLuca has published two books about our family history.  My visit to the Polk County Museum 
really helped bring the stories I’ve heard and read, come to life.
A visit to the Polk County Museum can help residents and tourists alike understand 
our local history.  The conversations sparked by a visit to the museum can enlighten and 
connect generations of diverse groups of people, and those communications alone make the 
Polk County Museum an invaluable asset to the Polk County community.



Thanks to everyone who visited the museum for our first Spring Art Fair.



Thursday, June 1, 7pm Author James Sudmeier will present,his book
"The General and the Giant German Railway Gun: Patton's Brush with Death from 33 miles."
This will describe a search by my wife Jilly and I last year in Nancy, France
for Patton's lost headquarters where he lived for 9 weeks in late
1944.   Nobody, including the current occupants of the building,had any idea that they were in Patton's former residenc


July 1  and July 2,  Join us at the Polk County Museum to celebrate Balsam Lake Freedom Fest July 4th weekend, enjoy a rootbeer float while relaxing on the spacious lawn, watch the parade and car show.




The Polk County Historical Society is excited to be offering two, three day sessions of Pioneer Schooling to be held at the restored, Polk County Lanesdale Rural School in Balsam Lake.  First session, August 8,9,10.  The second session, August 15, 16, 17.  Time; 10 am to 2 pm. The fee for each three day session is $ 35.00 per child.

To make this unique program successful, we are suggesting the children, ages 6-14. Students are asked to dress as children did in the 1900’s; costume’s available at school.

Questions can be directed to Vera 715-485-9269 or


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  6/09/2017

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Polk County Museum / Historical Society Balsam Lake, WI Phone: 715-485-9269