Polk County Historical Society

A nonprofit organization

$328 raised by 9 donors

16% 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, History Blog and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be a part of our museum community!

2021 Season Recap:

  1. THE MUSEUM OPENED ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND -  We were excited to show-off our NEW Military Room Remodel and new WWII Exhibits.  This was delayed a year due to covid.  The 2021 museum season commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.  As part of this season, we remodeled our Military Room, including new artifacts and exhibits highlighting the impact of WWII on the Polk County community.   
  2. Pioneer School at Lanesdale (August).  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.  Students participate in 1880’s academics, pioneer skills, games, and music
  3.  FUNDRAISER - "A Salute to the Greatest Generation" was held November 13th at the BrowTine Event Center featuring dinner, a presentation honoring WWII veterans, dancing with a 1940’s swing band & quartet, and a silent/live auction.  Proceeds going to the remodeling of our Military Room and the Museum’s annual operating budget.  More information about this event can be found on our website.


  1. Our theme for 2022 is "Lake Life" -- 
  2. The 2022 season will showcase our latest addition to our exhibits - "Hunting, Fishing & Trapping" in Polk County.  We have a great history of these outdoor activities that will bring back many fond memories!  Thanks to all the volunteers who designed, built and staged this wonderful addition to our museum.
  3. School tours will begin again in May with volunteer museum docents leading the tours.  We've had many families return to the museum after the students share their tour experiences at home.
  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 (TBD) - 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 opening day.  We also realized there shouldn't be an "off season" for the Museum as we have many opportunities to host special events and tours throughout the year.  Many have enjoyed the tours hosted by local author Sara DeLuca, "What is it" hosted by Steve Sylvester, special tours hosted by Polk County Historian Russ Hanson -- the list goes on!

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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