The Vernon County Museum is just one of the four historical sites operated by the Vernon County Historical Society. The other properties include Old St. Mary’s Church Museum, the Foreaker One-Room Schoolhouse, and the Sherry-Butt House. These historic buildings carry the past life of the region, including several upcoming exhibits and ongoing programs that are sure to grab your attention while you’re in town.
Vernon County Museum: A History
The Vernon County Museum was built during 1918 and 1919 as a training facility for local teachers. It was dubbed the Teacher’s College, and also known as the County Normal School. The students of the Teacher’s College took a yearlong course in until 1937, when a two-year course was then required. As a part of this hands-on program, a model school was used to train actual students until the mid-1960s. By 1972, the two-year course was obsolete, since the requirements for a teaching license had been extended to a necessitated four years. The building wasn’t used permanently again until 1989 when it was purchased to be turned into a museum.
The Vernon County Museum houses several exhibits along with a genealogy and local history research center. With tobacco as an important agricultural ingredient in Vernon County throughout its history, the museum would not be complete without an exhibit to note this important era in its past. The Tobacco Exhibit will fill you in on the crop’s important role in the area’s economy. Another exhibit is the Astronaut Mark Lee Space Exhibit. Mark C.Lee of Vernon County worked for NASA and flew on four Space Shuttle missions, moving up the ranks to mission specialist on his third mission. Lee was awarded a slough of NASA awards to commemorate his time in space. You can learn more about his missions at this out of this world exhibit.
A recent February program got pushed back to March because of a snowstorm, which gives you plenty of time to book your stay at the Westby House Inn in Vernon County. The program is titled “Dating Old Photographs” and will chronicle the county’s past. With other programs and exhibits in store, there will plenty more to explore inside the Vernon County Museum. Another opportunity for the curious is to come to a genealogy class and learn more about your family history. Non-members just pay $5 for this experience.
The Vernon County Museum is a great place to visit for a morning or afternoon and soak up some local Vernon County history before exploring the rest that the area has to offer. For more to do in the area, download our free Vacation Guide!