Wade House Opens New Visitor Center on its 60th Anniversary

Posted on 06/06/2013

Sixty years ago this week the Wade House Historic site was gifted by the Kohler Foundation to the people of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrates the opening of a new Wade House Visitor Center and Wesley Jung Carriage museum this weekend, nearly sixty years to the day that the Wade House was originally opened to the public.

Below is the press release announcing the Grand Opening:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                

June 5, 2013     

CONTACT: Megan Sullivan

(414) 390-5500


Wisconsin Historical Society Celebrates Completion of New Wade House Visitor Center and Museum

Grand opening event unveils $12 million improvement project at Wade House historic site


Greenbush, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrated the completion of the new $12 million Visitor Center and Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum at Wade House historic site in Greenbush on Monday, June 3. The project was one of the major initiatives in the recently completed $77 million Forward! fundraising campaign.

The celebration included key legislators and generous benefactors whose contributions made the 38,000-square-foot project possible and featured open access to the new facilities, a ribbon-cutting and remarks by Stephanie Klett, Wisconsin secretary of tourism; Ruth DeYoung Kohler, member of the Kohler Trust for Preservation and Kohler Foundation; Craig Culver, chief executive officer of Culver’s and chair of the Forward! Campaign; Kurt Jung, son of Mark Jung and grandson of Wesley W. Jung; and Ellsworth Brown, The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

"This is a day to cherish and to celebrate a six-decades-long partnership among families, organizations, communities, the State, and the Wisconsin Historical Society—all working together to ensure that our heritage is shared with each succeeding generation," said Ruth DeYoung Kohler. The new year-round facility overlooks Highway 23, the busy Sheboygan County thoroughfare, midway between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac.

The new Visitor Center includes a multi-tiered orientation to the historic site and its themes; a large room for public and private functions; a classroom that will accommodate a variety of programs for school children and adult learners alike; and a museum store, café, ticketing, restrooms and administrative spaces.

The Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum brings the compelling stories within the world of horse-drawn transportation to life in vignette settings, interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences within a space environmentally designed to showcase these treasures for generations to come. The entire complex has transformed the visitor experience, offering a new portal to the site from which visitors will board a horse-drawn wagon, travel through the woods and over the Mullet River, seemingly back in time, to the core of the historic site.

The Wisconsin Historical Society worked with Uihlein/Wilson architects to design the facility, which represents the principal element in a new master plan that will guide development of the site in years to come.

The project employed environmentally conscious building standards and practices, including the use of a ground source heat pump system to reduce the buildings annual energy usage; a dedicated outside air unit with an energy recovery ventilator, which reduces the need for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter; ultra energy efficient LED lights with dimming capabilities which use only one-tenth the energy of an incandescent bulb; and increased wall, roof and window insulation value for superior control of the building enclosure and the indoor environment.

In addition to Wade House, eight other Wisconsin historic sites and museums owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society are set to begin their inaugural season as Travel Green Wisconsin destinations.

A public-private partnership between the State of Wisconsin and generous benefactors funded the $12.1 million project. Additional costs for operations, site enhancements, new wagons for horse-drawn wagon rides, signage and marketing brought the total project cost to $13.8 million, with 45 percent of the total cost paid for by private individuals, businesses, and foundations, including the Kohler Trust for Preservation and the Mark Jung Family.

"The public and private sector cooperation we've seen throughout the course of this project has been outstanding," said Ellsworth Brown, The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society. "We are grateful to everyone who worked to make this vision a reality, and we know that this facility will be a great benefit to the community of Greenbush, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties, the citizens of Wisconsin,  and visitors from across the nation."

The public opening for Wade House will be Saturday, June 8, just two days after the 60-year anniversary of the historic site's original dedication in 1953, and will feature talks about the project, including its construction, green building initiatives, and site enhancements connecting the new facility to the historic core of the site. Visitors can visit for information about upcoming events.


About The Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories.


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