Founded in 1924, the Cook County Historical Society operates five buildings: the Historical Society Museum (the 1896 Lighthouse Keeper's House) since 1966; the Johnson Heritage Post (JHP) ; St. Francis Xavier's Chippewa City Church; Bally Blacksmith Shop; and a 1930's fish house replica. Alongside the fish house is the 35’ fishing tug, Neegee, built in 1935. All Sites are free to the public serving all of Cook County as well as our visitors. Other programs include: Passport into the Past is intended to educate elementary students about local history, Small Talks is a series of short history events. A quarterly newsletter the Overlook reaches more than 600 members.
Activities and buildings are managed by a Board of Trustees with representation from the Board of County Commissioners. Funds to operate the Museum consists of memberships, door donations, book sales, grants, and from Cook County. At present, there is one part time director and 2 part time assistants. The Johnson Heritage Post is funded by endowments. The buildings are staffed by large group of volunteers, many who served year after year. Many activities within the Museum and the “JHP” are also carried on by volunteers. Volunteers and board members offer to the public samples of our traditions, from lefse making, a fish cake dinner, a trout plank dinner, “small talks”, gallery openings, etc.
The Museum is open from May to October with extended hours and the remainder of the year on Friday and Saturday. The public is invited to call ahead to determine hours; 218-387-2883 or [email protected] Our new website can be accessed by www.cookcountyhistory.org Our Annual Dinner Meeting normally occurs in October.