The McFarland Historical Society received its charter from the Wisconsin State Historical Society on April 18, 1964, as a result of interest generated by a school exhibition of artifacts presented by parents in 1963. The Society’s holdings received a tremendous boost by Margaret Greene Kennedy’s donation of her Uncle Albert Skare’s private collection in 1969. The McFarland State Bank donated a lot on Main Street. In 1971, the Museum was built and exhibits displayed thanks to these and other generous donations, and hundreds of volunteer hours.
Albert Skare was born in a log cabin in 1878 of parents who came from Norway to this area and settled on land later known as “Hidden Valley Farm” or “Hidden Farm.” The Skare Cabin was carefully dismantled and moved to the Museum property in 1973. A rope bed, cradle, log high chair, and the loft where the children slept may be viewed in the cabin.
The McFarland Historical Society maintains the exhibits in the Museum, the Log Cabin and the Annex. A new theme is chosen each year and that theme is represented in a special exhibit in the foyer of the Museum.
Because of its many meritorious activities and quality of displays and artifacts, the McFarland Historical Society received the Reuben Gold Thwaites Trophy from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1994.
On February 1, 2012, the McFarland Historical Society took ownership of the "Larson House" at 6003 Excahange Street, a once grand Victorian home owned and cared for by John O. Larson and his family for about 80 years. A few years after John's daughter Bertha died, the house stood empty and neglected for nearly twenty years. The board of directors decided to purchase the property and many donors contributed to the acquisition fund. Over one-hundred volunteers, generous donors and numerous local contrators helped renovate the house. Just 2 and 1/2 years later in May of 2014, the grand opening was held with hundreds of people visiting on the Saturday and Sunday prior to Memorial Day.
Also in 2012, the Annex was cleaned and reorganized into an early farming display. This permanent display is now a hit with oldsters who grew up on farms and with the younger generation who have little knowledge of what farming was like long ago.
The McFarland Historical Society operates through the generosity of those interested in the preservation of local history. Generous donations of time and money as well as family heirlooms have made possible the many interesting and educational experiences provided throughout the year.
Most members are from the Village of McFarland, McFarland School District, Town of Dunn and surrounding municipalities. A substantial number of members who have left the community continue their interest and their support.
We invite you to become a member of the McFarland Historical Society and lend your area of expertise to help us in our mission. We can always use help with cleaning, cataloguing, researching, designing and preparing displays, baking for the bake sale, hosting at the Museum, giving group tours and demonstrations, and providing the funds necessary to keep our operation going.