The History Museum at the Castle

Entertainment & Arts

North America, United States, Outagamie County

The History Museum at the Castle is a local history museum located in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin across College Avenue from Lawrence University. Owned and operated by the Outagamie County Historical Society (OCHS), the museum has previously operated under the names The Outagamie Museum and The Houdini Historic Center. The building in which the museum is housed was formerly a Masonic temple, built in 1923, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Masonic Temple. Appleton's Waverly Masonic Lodge sold the building to the OCHS in 1985. The museum's collections focus on the history of the Fox River Valley, containing artifacts from the 1840s onward. The History Museum at the Castle also has a large collection of original Harry Houdini performance paraphernalia and personal documents, including a selection of his picks, locks, keys, and handcuffs. The museum also holds a collection of artifacts from the life of Senator Joe McCarthy, who was from the Appleton area. The museum owns 35,000 photographs dating back as far as 1857, including ones of Houdini, McCarthy, Edna Ferber, and Appleton native John Bradley, one of the six men who took part in raising the flag on Iwo Jima.