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About

The Adams County Historical Society was founded in January of 1974, as a University of Wisconsin Extension project to organize local historical societies throughout the state in honor of the United States Bicentennial. We are an incorporated, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization governed by a nine member board of directors elected for three year terms. Members of the board meet monthly. The public is welcome to attend, and occasionally we offer historical programs at the meetings.

The mission of the society has always been to collect, preserve and display the history of Adams County. Its early projects included establishment of a small museum at the county fairgrounds, publishing a photographic history of the county, preservation of the Lecy pioneer log cabin, and preservation of the Niebull one-room country school.  The fairgrounds museum is now open once a year during the Adams County Fair in August.

Restoration of the historic 1889 McGowan house, acquired in 1994, has been a major  project of the Society.  Until recently, the  McGowan house  served as the Society’s headquarters, museum, library and archives.  It remains a museum of Victorian era living in Central Wisconsin and a venue for historical programs.   It features period furnishings and depicts the lifestyle of a prominent rural doctor and his family of the Victorian period.  In 2000, the Society published From Past to Present, A History of Adams County. In 2002, the Niebull Schoolhouse was moved from the fairgrounds to the McGowan House property.

In 2012, the society acquired the historic 1904 Gunning-Purves Building at 311 Main Street in Friendship.  The society headquarters has been moved to the building and the Adams County Heritage Center has been established there as well as the Heritage Book & Gift Shop.  Temporary historical exhibits are displayed in the building on a rotating basis and various presentations are conducted in the center’s meeting room.  On completion of restoration, the building’s second floor will be used for historical displays, research, archives and educational activities.

The Society operates through donations made by the public and local organizations, and from fund raising activities. If you would like to make a charitable contribution to the Society, please visit our donations page which explains all of the details needed to do so.

Membership is open to anyone interested in the collection, preservation and dissemination of Adams County history. E-mail us for more information on joining.

Member Information

Society Officials

President: Pat Kierstyn
Vice President: Michael Goc
Secretary: Mary Lee Klaus
Treasurer: Harry Davis

Board of Directors

Pat Kierstyn
Michael Goc
Mary Lee Klaus
Karen Church
Elaine Babcock
Helen Plummer
Dennis McFarlin
Harry Davis
Mary Jo Meyer

Hours of Operation

OPEN BY APPOINTMENT for TOURS & RESEARCH
Donations appreciated!

For Appointments Call:

Patricia Kierstyn……608-339-2199
Mary Lee Klaus…….608-584-5727
Karen Church……….608-339-3400

The Adams County Historical Society is always looking for new members and workers. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact us. To join, please use our Membership Form.

One Response to About

  1. claire rydell

    Hello,
    I have a fabulous photograph of my great grandmother’s living room in Arkdale, Wisconsin. Would the society be interested in having a copy of it? I am in Los Angeles but would like to visit the home which I understand is open to the public for periods of time.

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