Nearly a Century of Museum History

Oconomowoc's first museum was established in 1926 in a storage area above the city's original library that was located on North Lake Road. The Oconomowoc Historical Society, Inc., officially incorporated in 1980, began looking for a new home for its collections when the current library was constructed in 1987.

Enter the 1921 Armory

The National Guard Armory Building, built in the Spanish Colonial style for the 127th Regiment Infantry Company G, was dedicated on December 15, 1921. The armory was constructed with cooperative financing from federal, state, and local agencies - the first partnership of its kind in Wisconsin!

Armory bldg 1930

A Cornerstone of the Community

The site was not only a home for the National Guard, but also a hub of community activity. Weddings, dances, graduations, and other city-wide social events were held on the drill floor. For many years, the Oconomowoc American Legion Band rehearsed on the drill floor. At one time, the Oconomowoc Recreation Department used the main floor as an archery range. There was a rifle and pistol range in the basement that was used for civilian target practice and police training.

The Historical Society Finds its New Home

On December 6, 1984, the armory was listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. A new armory was built on the west side of Oconomowoc off Highway 16 and dedicated in 1985. In 1988, the City of Oconomowoc deeded the building to the Oconomowoc Historical Society with the stipulation that a museum be established within five years. The challenge was met. The Oconomowoc Area Historical Society and Museum officially opened on June 29, 1991.

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