MADISON (NBC 26) — A new history museum about state and national history is set to open in 2026 in Madison.
The Wisconsin Historical Society said it will feature exhibitions and programs for guests of all ages. Adding, the museum will share wide-ranging perspectives from the past and present and bring historical context to an expansive and ever-growing American history collection of national significance.
“The new history museum will highlight stories that, connect individuals and communities to our region, the nation and the world,” said Christian Overland, Ruth and Hartley Barker director & CEO of the Wisconsin Historical Society. “We are ecstatic to be able to keep our commitment to our residents and we are grateful for the support and enthusiasm from the State, donors, and communities throughout Wisconsin and the nation to open a new museum in 2026.”
In a press release, the WHS said the new facility will be across from the current Wisconsin Historical Museum on the Capitol Square at 2022 North Carroll Street. They plan to welcome more than 200,000 guests annually to the new $100 million, 100,000-square-foot museum. It will have double the exhibition space, include state-of-the-art technology that will provide greater access to the Society’s collection.
“By expanding our current space, we will be able to build a new history museum that will exhibit and connect our stories with all 72 counties in Wisconsin and allow the Society to provide greater access to our treasured Wisconsin and American history collections,” continued Overland. “The larger future museum will serve more than double the number of students and families who currently visit the Wisconsin Historical Museum.”
The new museum is a vision of Fred and Mary Mohs and the Mohs family. The release adds new commitments from Madison, Wisconsin philanthropists Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland, founder of American Girl bring their combined gifts to $16.6 million and total private funds raised for the Campaign for a New Wisconsin History Museum to $34.9 million. This exceeds the required match of $30 million to release the State's $70 million enumeration for design, construction, and site acquisition.
WHS is currently looking for both exhibit and architectural design firms. More information can be found here.