Be Our Guest
In addition to the cultural amenities of nearby Milwaukee, West Bend offers its own attractions and community events – including a variety of theatrical, musical and artistic offerings.
The West Bend Art Museum, founded in 1961, has the world’s largest collection of Carl von Marr’s work. It also has the largest and most extensive art archive and collection of early Wisconsin art dating from the 1820s. The museum rounds-out its offerings with exhibits of contemporary art, workshops and classes for adults and children.
One can view West Bend’s collection of over 25 public sculptures obtained from artists throughout the world. The most recent and largest sculpture installed to date is “Place of Origin” by sculpturer Brad Goldberg, located next to the water dam on Washington Street. The sculptures are placed throughout the community for public viewing at the cultural district, riverwalk, and parks. The West Bend Friends of Sculpture continues to add sculptures to the city’s collection.
The original Washington County Courthouse, built in 1889, now serves as Washington County’s Historical Museum. Exhibits depict Native Americans of Wisconsin, military personnel, early pioneers, business and industry leaders, and farming communities of early Washington County. The Washington County Historical Society operates the Historical Museum along with the Old Jailhouse Museum and St. Agnes Convent Historic Site. Citizens of the county and some private grants have supported the total restoration of these facilities. One can also view an important historical landmark of industry by visiting the Barton Roller Mills. Located at the water dam on Barton Avenue, the Barton Roller Mills contains the original water-propelled gears, belts, and machinery that was used to grind a variety of grain.
Nearly every weekend one can find an event or activity taking place at the Washington County Fair Park. The 133-acre campus houses a 42,000 square foot pavilion and a series of barns. Over 120 events are held at the Fair Park each year including the Washington County Fair, the largest event in the county, drawing over 100,000 during the five-day event.
Theatres at the University of Wisconsin – Washington County and West Bend High School provide diverse cultural expression and appreciation. Classes in language, art, music and theater are offered each semester. Performance opportunities in theater and music add to a public fine arts series that brings performers and speakers from diverse fields to the campus. Community performance groups include Theater on the Hill, Musical Masquers, Spotlight Productions and Stage Door Players. Musicians perform concerts for the public as part of the Kettle Moraine Symphony, the River City Irregulars and the Moraine Chorus.