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Museums are invaluable collections of our shared history. Before the world wide web, research was conducted within the walls of libraries and museums rather than on smartphones. Research required venturing outside, seeking others’ guidance, and actively participating in conversations.

While the internet is undoubtedly a powerful resource, it cannot replicate the richness of social exchanges and the tangible experience of handling items and artifacts that museums offer.

Devoting time to exploring the tapestry of human history is crucial. Racine boasts numerous museums, each offering a distinct narrative, from showcasing the evolution of art and culture over time to thought provoking pieces about our trajectory into the future.

A visit to these establishments prompts reflection and fosters a newfound appreciation for the role museums play in preserving our heritage and shaping our understanding of the world.

Firehouse 3 Museum

Firehouse 3 Museum used to be a Racine Fire Department station from 1882 to 1968. Back then, they had all sorts of cool gear, like a horse-drawn steamer and hose cart from 1882 to 1918. Then they upgraded to a motorized fire truck from 1918 to 1943. And get this, Racine got its first full-time Rescue Squad from 1943 to 1968!

But in 1968, they had to close down Firehouse 3 because they opened a new Safety Building and moved a bunch of companies there.

Now, Firehouse 3 Museum is like a big thank-you card to all the firefighters in Racine, whether they’re still here or not. It’s like a time machine, showing us how they used to fight fires over a hundred years ago and how much better they’ve gotten at it.

Here’s the kicker: Firehouse 3 Museum doesn’t get any cash from the city of Racine. Nope, it’s all thanks to the Racine Fire Bells who keep the place looking spick and span. And hey, they even wrote a book about the history of the Racine Fire Department back in 1992, which was the 150th anniversary of fire protection in Racine. How cool is that?

700 6th St, Racine, WI 53403

Appointment Only

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Racine Heritage Museum

The Racine Heritage Museum, used to be called the Old Settlers’ Society, was started way back in 1870 by some of the first folks who settled here. They wanted to keep the stories alive about how Racine County came to be. Back then, Racine was known for growing a lot of wheat and having a busy harbor where ships came and went. Later on, it became a big deal in making stuff, like manufacturing things that got famous worldwide. Nowadays, Racine is getting known for being a cool place where new technology and stuff are happening.

The Racine Heritage Museum, and the groups before it, has a big job to do. They’re all about gathering up stuff, saving it, and telling everyone about the history of Racine County. They want to make sure we don’t forget all the cool things people here have done, from inventing stuff to making beautiful things with their hands.

If you’re interested in supporting or checking out the Racine Heritage Museum, you should find out more about how you can help or visit. It’s a neat way to learn about the past of our hometown!

701 Main St, Racine, WI 53403

Sun 12pm-4pm, Mon Closed, Tue-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-3pm


Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 838 & Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Museum

Back in September 1984, Quinn Rench got together with some buddies who loved airplanes, and they made Chapter 838 happen. Funny thing was, Rench ended up being the first president of the group without even trying! At first, they didn’t have a proper place to meet, so they bounced around between people’s houses, hangars, and even basements. Then, in July 1985, they put out their very first newsletter called Contact.

Things got real exciting in December 1987 when they decided to build their own spot for Chapter 838. They wanted it to be the coolest hangout for airplane lovers. Fast forward to March 9, 1992, they finally started building the place, aiming to make it one of the best spots for the Experimental Aircraft Association.

That same month, they also gave their thumbs up to the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame. Then, in 1999, they had to make their building bigger ’cause the museum was growing like crazy. By 2002, they had their own website up and running, and ever since then, they’ve been flying high without any plans of slowing down!

3333 N Green Bay Rd, Racine, WI 53404

General Member meetings are held on the third Thursday each month (except August & December) from 7pm-9pm


Visit our blog to learn about other exciting opportunities in Racine, Wisconsin! Read about the Racine Art Museum and Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts.

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