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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 was earlier known as Masonic Temple. In 2018 the museum was a recipient of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor given to a museum or library in the United States.[2]

History Museum at the Castle
The front entrance to the History Museum at the Castle
Location333 East College Avenue,
Appleton, Wisconsin
Masonic Temple
Coordinates44°15′44″N 88°24′5″W / 44.26222°N 88.40139°W / 44.26222; -88.40139Coordinates: 44°15′44″N 88°24′5″W / 44.26222°N 88.40139°W / 44.26222; -88.40139
ArchitectLeenhouts & Gutherie
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference #85002330[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 12, 1985



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 personal documents and performance paraphernalia, 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, and Edna Ferber.

Other Houdini museumsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
  2. ^ Nyman, Shane (2018-05-01). "History Museum at the Castle wins nation's highest honor". Post-Crescent Media. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  3. ^ Compeer (December 13, 2016). "House of Houdini Opens in Hungary". The Magic Compass. Society of American Magicians. Retrieved January 23, 2017.

External linksEdit