Inside the walls of the History Museum, the past comes alive through the stories, photographs and artifacts of people of Appleton and the Fox Valley. Our mission is to inspire appreciation for the rich history of the Fox River Valley area communities through the collections, exhibits and education at the History Museum at the Castle.
Owned and operated by the Outagamie County Historical Society, the Museum holds the collections representing the history of Appleton and the Fox Valley dating back to 1840s.
About Our Building
The History Museum building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally a Masonic temple. The local Masonic Blue Lodge, charted in 1854, raised $100,000 in 1923 to build this facility.
The Museum's architectural style is Norman Revival, characterized by the use of rough hewn stone and other features reminiscent of medieval castles and churches such as vaulted ceilings, heavy beams and leaded windows. Lodge membership began to decline in the late 1960s and by 1985 the Masons chose to sell the building to the Historical Society.
The Temple had been a lively community center. It hosted Masonic lodge meetings and events and was used by local churches and other organizations for dances, school proms and banquets - just as today. The Museum today is used as a venue for community and private events.
The History Museum offers programs for all ages throughout the year, including walking tours, pub crawls, bicycle tours, and unique social events. The Museum hosts tours for elementary school classes, adult and youth groups. We also offer in-classroom activities, as well as teacher resources relating to the history of the Fox Valley.
Museum exhibits weave national and local events and periods together to provide both perspective and local relevance. The Museum presents education programming related to our exhibits and workshops for adults, families and students.