Port Washington Historical Society


Research & Collections



The Port Washington Historical Society’s purpose is to collect, preserve and maintain items relevant to the history of the Port Washington area, north of Grafton, east of Saukville and south of Belgium, including its geographical location, commercial, agricultural, genealogical, developmental and maritime history. Items should pertain to maritime, and/or Port Washington area history, either by direct association, family, or business connection. Items are catalogued according to PastPerfect, and storage is managed as carefully as possible according to best practices.

Society collections cover a wide range of objects, archives, photographs and library materials. Collections include the Bienlein-Burke maritime collection, the Wiening photograph collection of lake freighters, the Ambrose Mayer photograph and item collection, the Wisconsin Chair Company/Paramount Record collection, Smith Bros. collection and the Breweries collection. Collections extend across the city’s history of businesses, its residents and local organizations. Research materials and files are available for community access.

Submit an Item

The Port Washington Historical Society actively enriches its collections through donations of archives, objects, photographs and documents which assist us in illustrating life in the Port Washvington, Wisconsin area.

Do you have an artifact, document or photograph that you wish to offer to the Historical Society? Contact us to discuss making a donation to the collection. Photographs of the item, anything you know about its history and a brief comment on its condition can help us determine whether it is suitable for our collection.

This document outlines our acquisition procedures.

When will my donation be on exhibit?

The Historical Society does not guarantee artifacts will ever be exhibited. Once an object, document or photo is donated, it immediately becomes available to staff and researchers who are working on a variety of projects.

We cannot predict what specific uses your items will have, but your generosity will instantly and permanently expand the amount of artifacts and information available to the public!

Archival Questions

Have a question about our collections or archives? Click below to contact us with your question and our staff will get back to you shortly!

What types of items does
the History Museum collect?

We collect items that were made or used in Port Washington area. Ideally, we would like to know where/when/by whom the item(s) were used. Some examples include:
  • Photographs and video
  • Letters, journals, & home account books
  • Business/organization/government records
  • Antique Clothing
  • Manuscripts
  • Archaeological Artifacts
  • Maps
  • Maritime Objects
  • Historical objects
  • Oral Histories
  • Books and pamphlets
  • Newspapers

What types of items does
the History Museum NOT collect?

Items are reviewed by members of the curatorial committee to determine if the items fit within the guidelines of the collections policies. The collections focus is on the Port Washington area. Individual items are evaluated by how they fit into society purposes and mission, their overall condition, and the ability for the society to care for the items.
Mailing Address:
  • Port Washington Historical Society
  • P.O. Box 491
  • Port Washington, WI 53074
Phone: 262-284-2406