two boys looking at a book while their mother points at something


Enter the era of the one-room schoolhouse, where generations of rural Wisconsin children came of age.

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Visiting Reed School takes you back to an era of education that is very different from the massive school buildings students attend today. In the early 1900s, more than 6,000 one-room schools just like this dotted the Wisconsin landscape, with one teacher instructing many grade levels at the same time. Reed School immerses you in this world, with exhibits outlining the history of the United States free school movement, along with displays of historic school supplies and newspaper volumes. Audio and visual screens share the stories and experiences of former students. 

Things To Explore


When it was built in 1915, Reed School had an innovative design. It was a concrete brick structure measuring 30 feet x 50 feet, unusual for the era. It boasted a concrete foundation and a wood-frame bell tower. While it was modern for the time, Reed School lacked indoor bathrooms, plumbing and a water supply. Water was carried in by hand and electricity wasn’t added until 1941.

Learn with the Wisconsin Historical Society

a man pointing at a screen while a group of kids watch

Field Trips

The best day of your school year awaits! Don’t just read about history, experience it! Field Trips at the Wisconsin Historical Society’s historic sites and museums allow students to step into the worlds they’re studying through fun adventures and engaging experiences around the state for grades k-12. 

Wisconsin Historical Society Sites

Reed School is one of the 12 historic sites and museums owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Explore all of these sites below.

Black Point Estate, a view of the tower and the rest of the building, the clouds are beautiful and really frame the building.

Black Point Estate & Gardens

A circus cart on a lawn, bright red, yellow, and orange colors.

Circus World

The two historical buildings of Wisconsin's First Capital

First Capitol

An old fashioned camera is set up facing a dramatic photo backdrop

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum

Wood cabin style building with antlers attached. A sign reads Museum

Madeline Island Museum

A group of people bail hay out of an old fashioned cart

Old World Wisconsin

Pendarvis house at dusk,  orange colored brick and white trim windows and doors. A stone wall lines the house next to the road. The lamp is lit.


Inside the Reed School classroom, with vintage desks and a chalkboard

Reed School

A older white couple holding hands and walking towards the Stonefield buildings


The Villa Louis Manor on a sunny day, victorian architecture on elegant display

Villa Louis

People visiting the Arts and Crafts Fair at Wade House

Wade House

Rendering of the new history center from the street view

Wisconsin History Center