About Us

0

Years Old

The Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society was founded on November 22, 1919, by a group of local men and women dedicated to preserving history. Our charter members’ ambitions were to locate, mark, and preserve areas of local historical significance. Our society was also instrumental in establishing a public museum in Oshkosh. The first was at the Oshkosh Public Library, and then it was moved to its current location in the Edgar Sawyer home in 1924.

Today, our society is located in the former John R. Morgan residence on Church Avenue in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since our formation nearly a century ago, our organization has continued to engage the public in programs and events, mark locations of local historical and archaeological importance, and collect and preserve historical artifacts.

More details about us -

The Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society is a non-profit organization managed by volunteers united by common interests in history and preservation. The Society was chartered in 1919 by the Wisconsin State Historical Society.

The Board of Directors is the management core and is compreised of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and currently fifteen member Directors. The Board is governed by its bylaws and guided by Robert's Rules of Order.

The Historical Society promotes and facilitates outreach education through historically focused public programs, local historical tours, special events, and the publication of a quarterly newsletter.

The Society manages the restoration and preservation of two properties at 234 Church Avenue in Oshkosh, Wisconsin - the John Rodgers Morgan House and the property's carriage house. These buildings are owned, without mortgage or lien, by the Society and provide the headquarters for the organization. The Morgan House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and is a house museum consistent with 1880s furnishings and fine art.

Standing committees are permanently established and ad hoc committees are formed, as needed, to oversee all outreach and fund raising activities. These committees are comprised of Board members as well as members at large. Committee chairs report to the Board of Directors.

For more information, the Society maintains this web site. The phone number and address for the Morgan House are below.

Our first meeting minutes -

On November 22nd 1919 A meeting was called to organize a branch of the State Archaeological and Historical Society in Winnebago County. Five gentleman namely Mrssrs. Clarence T. Olen; Charles Koehn; Ralph Buckstaff; Nile Behncke and Arthur Kannenberg took steps to make this a permanent organization.

The gentlemen elected Mr. C. T. Olen as president and Arthur Kannenberg secretary. Ralph Buckstaff proposed holding the next meeting of this organization in the University Extension Division rooms. This proposition being approved by all members present. The secretary was instructed to purchase a minutes book with the cost of the same to be reimbused by the Organization. It was moved and carried to call the next meeting, Wednesday evening November 26th at 8 o'clock. There being no other matter of importance to be transacted they adjourned until Novenber 26th.

Arthur Kannenberg, Charles Koehn; Clarence T. Olen; Ralph Buckstaff; Neil Behncke; Ed Crane; Mrs. Ed Crane; Ellis Roberts; Fred Walker; J. T. Armstrong; Publius V. Lawson and Mrs. P. V. Lawson.*Page 2. On December 3rd, 1919, their second meeting was held, the minutes of the organization meeting of November 22nd were read and adopted. Upon a motion duly made and unanimously carried Mr. Olen was elected first President of the Winnebago Archaeological and Historical Society. Authur Kannenberg was unanimously elected Secretary and Treasurer for the ensuing year. In the Constitution and By-laws, which were sent to us by Mr. Chas. Brown, Secretary of the State Historical Society, you will notice that the State Society calls for three Presidents. This matter was taken into consideration and layed over until the next meeting.*Page2. Later on January 6th, 1920 in a (special) meeting their minutes would refect that a report from State Secretary, Mr. Chas. Brown were he recommended slight changes and annexations to their Constitution. Upon a motion made and unanimously carried, it was decided to adhere to the recommendations of Secretary Brown.*Page 3. Motion made and carried to adopt Roberts Rules of Order. Motion made and carried to appoint a committee of three members. These members are to draw up a constitution. Members to serve on this committee are the Mrssrs. Neil Behncke; Ralph Buckstaff, and Authur Kannenberg. Upon motion duly made and unanimously carried it was decided to name or rename the society The Winnebago County Archaeological and Historical Society. Motion duly made and unanimously carried, to affiliate this Society with both the State Historical and the State Archaeological Societies. Motion made and carried to set the dues at $1.00 per annum, payable quarterly. It was also decided to accept Ladies as members. There being no other business, so we adjourned. Aurthur Kannenberg, Secretary.*Page 2, 3. *Written Minutes from the records of the: Winnebago County Archaeological and Historical Society Volume 1 Nov. 22, 1919 May 11, 1931.
By January 6th, 1919, the main goal of this original charter of the Winnebago County Archaeological and Historical Society was to engage in identifing and researching the many important historical sites in Winnebago County, their first choice being the Father Allouez, Mass Mounds in Menonninee Park, Oshkosh Wisconsin, which was in celebration of it's 250th anniversary, with a celebratory occasion planned on April 20th, 1920. A further investigation as to history, funds and further steps toward placing a tablet on a boulder on a small knoll on the lake shore in Menominee Park, and the raising of a fund for a statue of Father Allouez.*Page 5. Their interest in the then present historical collections held at the Oshkosh Public Museum, Winnebago County, also took priority. Their minutes reflect a committee to investigate for funds, new cases for exhibition purposes concerning the present collections held in Oshkosh local museum, along with the labeling, indexing, recording and the classifying of these collections. *Page 2.
With a slight rearranging of words the organization today is known as the Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society and is based at 234 Church Avenue, in Oshkosh Wisconsin. This address is the former home of lumber baron John Rogers and his wife Eleanor Morgan. The beautiful Queen Ann style home was built in the year 1884 on a piece of property that the Morgan's had purchased by at least 1860. The present day Historical Society aquired the home in 1987 from Constance Minsky who had a desire to leave the home in her will to the WCHAS. Since aquiring the house the the WCHAS has felt a strong need to give back to our city a piece of history never to be forgotten and since aquiring the house our efforts have been solely dedicated to the homes renovations. It is now the year 2015 and the Morgan House is mostly completed, although constant repairs and smaller renovations are forever in the works.
Like the original organization of the Winnebago County Archaeological and Historical Society organized in the year 1919, we are still dedicated to preserving and educating the people of Winnebago County in it's rich and diverse history. Along with telling the history of the John Rogers Morgan family, we also are dedicated to keeping alive the historical work the original charter organized including over 50 markers placed in Winnebago County that had been placed by our charter and other civil groups, like Knaggs Ferry; the Webster Stanley House; the Osborn House; (the oldest home in Winnebago County) and the Edgar Sawyer House. Other historical places to look for is the Grignon Trading Post, located in Butte des Morts, Wisconsin., the Grand Opera House, and the razed Hotel Athearn, both located in the city of Oshkosh.


Like the original organization of the Winnebago County Archaeological and Historical Society organized in the year 1919, we are still dedicated to preserving and educating the people of Winnebago County in it's rich and diverse history. Along with telling the history of the John Rogers Morgan family, we also are dedicated to keeping alive the historical work the original charter organized including over 50 markers placed in Winnebago County that had been placed by our charter and other civil groups, like Knaggs Ferry; the Webster Stanley House; the Osborn House; (the oldest home in Winnebago County) and the Edgar Sawyer House. Other historical places to look for is the Grignon Trading Post, located in Butte des Morts, Wisconsin., the Grand Opera House, and the razed Hotel Athearn, both located in the city of Oshkosh.

The Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society, a 501(c)3 organization, does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients

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Our Mission

The Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society will represent, serve and involve community members in preserving the history of our area.

Our Vision

The Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society will serve Winnebago County and surrounding areas by researching, preserving, and communicating the history of our area.



Greg Bellmer, Treasurer
Emily Berger
Denise Blaze
Steve Cummings
Randy Domer – President
Austin Frederick – Vice President
Eben Johnson – Treasurer
Julie Johnson
Philip Marshall – Secretary
Dean Sandeman
Thomas Rowland
Steve Walters
Patti Yana
We have lots of other opportunities if you’d like to lend a hand!

Late in 2015, we re-organized our committees and are already seeing positive results. If you would like to participate in one of our committees, we surely welcome your support. Our committees are:

❖ Property Committee Members (Greg Bellman, Chair)
❖ Collections Committee (Philip Marshall, Chair)
❖ Exhibition & Events Committee (Austin Frederick, Chair)
❖ Outreach Committee ( Leslie Walfish, Chair)
❖ Historical Markers & Sites Committee (Steve Cummings, Chair)
❖ Revenue Development (TBD, Chair)
❖ Strategic Planning (Dean Sandeman, Chair)
❖ Membership (Emily Berger, Chair)

If you would like to speak with someone about volunteering, please send an e-mail to winnebagohistoricalsociety@gmail.com or call WCHAS Board Member Austin Frederick at: (920) 960-6430.
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