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An Artifact in & of Itself

Waupun is home to the second-oldest library association in Wisconsin.  The Hillyer Library was a collection of books in a law office in downtown Waupun.  In 1903, a letter was sent to Andrew Carnegie, who was funding public libraries across the country.  Waupun received $10,000 and the community was able to provide another large sum to the project.  Construction began in 1904, and the Waupun Free Public Library opened in 1905.

    Once you step inside, you can choose your own adventure! The main floor features indigenous artifacts dating back thousands of years. This collection of tools and points illustrate the prominence of the Ho-Chunk Nation before Western encroachment brought disease and assimilation west of the Appalachians.

The main floor also features relics from Waupun's early history involving occupants of European descent, development of the education system in Waupun, and the story of Clarence Shaler and Waupun's many beautiful sculptures.  

     Our volunteers will happily point out their favorite artifacts with so many stories and memories from a time gone by.


     The garden level in the Heritage Museum features two main rooms.  First, the Business & Industry room details the development of commerce in the Waupun area.  It highlights Waupun's significant contributions to the state and national economies, such as Johnson's Photography Studio and the Wisconsin State Prison.

     The second room is the Military Memorial room, paying respect to those who served their country from Waupun and the surrounding region.  Some of the earliest pieces in our collection were donated in the early 1900s from Waupun's Civil War veterans and their families.  Waupun's key role in World War II is a focal point in this space. 

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