Polk County Historical Society

A nonprofit organization

$1,132 raised by 13 donors

57% complete

$2,000 Goal


History lays the groundwork for strong resilient communities.  

 No place is a community until it has an awareness of its history, strengthened when we share stories and experiences.  

Our Mission:

Preserving the past  for future generations by establishing a unique and enduring collection of Polk County History shared with the public through programs, exhibits and research.

Our History:

The Polk County Historical Society was established in 1937 to manage the preservation of the rich history of Polk County and its people. The Historical Society are the caretakers of the Polk County Museum and rural Lanesdale Schoolhouse, both located in beautiful downtown Balsam Lake.  

The Polk County Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization which relies on gifts, grants, donations and annual memberships for its financial stability.  

We ask that you consider becoming a part of our family through annual membership ($15.00 - Individual, $25.00 - Family).  Not only do memberships provide significant financial support for our museum to operate on, it allows us to continue to offer FREE admission into the museum and offer free educational events and activities to schools, organizations and our Polk County community.  Click here for more information about membership.

We appreciate the support of our community, please visit our web page and follow us on Facebook to be a part of our museum community!

2023 Season Recap:

  1. The new Director, Brenna Weston, began in April and got right to work! Weston created an education collection full of interactive items to bring into the community for presentations. Weston also established and strengthened relationships with various Polk County organizations, which led to several presentations at area libraries and Endeavors Adult Development Center.
  2. The museum opened on Memorial Day weekend. We were excited to show-off our NEW signs encouraging visitors to touch and interact with selected items on display. We also created spaces for our smaller visitors to create and color.
  3.  We hosted six Speaker Series between May and October with topics including Polk County in the digital age, soldiers in the Civil War, and haunted Polk County. These talks will continue in 2024.
  4. Both sessions of our Pioneer School at Lanesdale in August were full! This successful, unique, longtime program is for children interested in experiencing a one room pioneer school. Our goal is to provide children with an understanding of the history of education in an authentic one room school house located in Balsam Lake, WI. 


  1. 2024 will showcase our latest changes to our exhibits. Our jury box is back to its former glory; visitors can now sit in the former jury box and see what a juror saw. Our former bee exhibit has been transformed into a "road to jail" exhibit featuring items from a formerly illegal moonshine still. Thanks to all the volunteers who designed, built and staged these wonderful exhibits!
  2. School and group tours have begun with staff and volunteers leading the tours.  We've had many families return to the museum after the students share their tour experiences at home.
  3. Speaker Series have begun! Our February event brough in a whopping 50 visitors, enough to fill our courtroom! We're working to schedule out these Speaker events and include more options for audience interaction and creativity over the summer. 
  4. Pioneer School at the historic Lanesdale School will be held in August with two sessions planned.  Watch for sign up information this summer as these session fill up quickly.
  5. Planning is now starting for our fall fundraising event: Pioneer Days on August 10 and 11! Please check our website for additional information as plans are finalized.

As you can see, there's a lot going on at the Museum.  Volunteers worked throughout the winter preparing exhibits and organizing our Archives in preparation for spring events and the upcoming summer season. 

Funding will support continued research, preservation and archiving of collected artifacts in the Polk County Museum. 

In 2015 & 2016 the museum received grants from the American Alliance of Museums, Washington, D.C. the Polk County Museum was selected to participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP).  Through guided self-study and on-site consultation with a museum professional, participation in MAP empowered the Polk County Museum to better serve the citizens of  Polk County by facilitating its meeting and exceeding the highest  professional standards of the museum field.  



Organization Data


Organization name

Polk County Historical Society

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education Community





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