Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Old World Wisconsin Worth the Price of Admission +

While staying in the area around Kettle Moraine State Park, our primary destination was Old World Wisconsin.  This is an attraction run by the Wisconsin State Historical Society that was worth the admission price and then some.

To create this outdoor museum, researchers traveled throughout the state looking for authentic buildings representing generations of Wisconsin settlers. Opening in 1976, over 60 historic buildings from around the state have been painstakingly moved here piece by piece, literally numbering boards, bricks and logs to reconstruct them on site. These pieces become "villages and farms" that represent various times in 19th and 20th century Wisconsin. They even have a couple of re-created grave sites that have the exact inscriptions as the originals.

You experience 1915 at the Finish village, then turn back the clock more to 1839 at the Norwegian area. Each area has its own reenactor's showing what life was like, some even cooking food from the time.  There was a squirrel in the pot along with fresh turnips from the garden at the Norwegian village, while they had a little more modern goodies at the Finish place. These are only a couple of examples of life you can see while in here, as Old World Wisconsin is the world's largest museum dedicated to the history of rural life.

One of our top favorites now, we regretted that we had only 3 hours to tour Old World before it closed for the day.  Most definitely allow for at least 4 hours if not the day.  Spread over a large area, you can walk from exhibit to exhibit, or catch one of several trams that will drop you off.  From General Stores to shoe shops, and barns; wheel makers to bread bakers and historic breeds of animals, even baseball.  This museum has something for the entire family to enjoy.

All of it was great, but some of our personal favorites were the 1870's Crossroads Village where you'll find costumed interpreters telling about life as an Irish laundress, Welsh shopkeeper, Bohemian shoemaker, and more. During our visit they were also recreating some of Wisconsin's role in the Civil War, and they had Union troops camped here in the village displaying everyday life during the war.

Another favorite was the Raspberry One Room School House brought down from around Lake Superior. Representing the late 19th century, the "teacher" will tell you how it was quite hard to keep an instructor there for more than just a few months, and how short lived the school was.

Of course Kathy's favorite was the barns throughout.  Beautiful structures of a time past that have been brought here to be kept intact as they were when originally built. We both loved the Civil War reenactors, and what's great about this place is that different months have different themes.  So if we were to be here in October we would experience something new.

Open early May through end of October, Old World Wisconsin should go on your list as a must see.  Plan accordingly and check out the various themes and special events via their website HERE.

There's no way this blog could do the museum justice, so we took over 800 photos of our visit and have picked 34 of our faves (may add more) to display in our Old World Wisconsin Photo Blog HERE.

While in this area we stayed at the Rome River Campground and RV Park. We could have stayed in the Kettle Moraine State Park, but they didn't have any spots with hookups left. This second choice was not bad though. Rome is a very small town with a simple General Store (for sale during our visit) right by the campground.  But there are larger towns nearby for more groceries, etc.  Management was great, wifi was good when it worked (they had some known issues while we were there with their router). AT&T data coverage, while shows solid on the coverage map, was spotty at the campground.

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