Wisconsin Great River Road Museums


All along the Mississippi River and the Great River Road in Wisconsin, river road travelers can stop and enjoy educational and historical museums. Many of these museums capture the history of various Wisconsin areas and explore the origins of local establishments, while others showcase unique collections. Add any one of these interesting stops to your next road trip for a unique experience on the Wisconsin Great River Road and the opportunity to learn more about the river communities.

National Brewery Museum & Transportation Museum
Located in Potosi at the Potosi Brewery, this Wisconsin Great River Road stop holds two museums in one, the ABA National Brewery Museum and the Great River Road Interpretive Center and the Potosi Brewing Company Transportation Museum. The ABA National Brewery Museum gives visitors a chance to view a world class collection of beer bottles and cans, glasses, trays, coasters, advertisements, and other unique items related to breweriana collectibles. After taking in the large collection, visitors can head over to the Potosi Brewing Company Transportation Museum to learn all about the 120 year history of the Potosi Brewery, with a focus on how transportation played a role in the brewing process going from horse drawn wagons to the modern day delivery trucks. Before you leave, stop into the Great River Road Interpretive Center to learn even more history of the Mississippi River and surrounding areas and find brochures and other travel information about places and events nearby.

Elmer’s Auto and Toy Museum
Fans of antique collections will enjoy Elmer’s Auto and Toy Museum on Eagle Bluff in Fountain City, Wisconsin. The museum features over 100 muscle, antique, and classic cars and trucks, hundreds of pedal cars, and thousands of antique toys and tools for visitors to see. Visitors can explore five museum buildings of collections including autos and cycles, pedal cars, antique toys, and farm tools from decades past. Some of the popular displays include Indian and Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Antique Race Cars, cast-iron toys, and pedal tractors. The museum welcomes you to pack a lunch and enjoy the spectacular views of the Mississippi River on their grounds, after or before exploring the extensive collection of antiques.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
In Pepin, Wisconsin you can explore the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. In the late 1800s, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie series, was born in Pepin a few miles out of the town. The books were based on her childhood as a settler and pioneer, and the museum serves to preserve and celebrate Laura’s legacy and the Little House On The Prairie series, as well as display a collection of items that represent the time period and the Ingalls Wilder family. The museum gift shop features books and movies for learning more about Laura Ingalls Wilder and collectibles to remember the trip by. A short drive from the museum, you’ll find a replica of the Wayside Cabin on the original property where Laura was born where you can go on a self-guided tour, imagining how life might have been for settlers in the late 1800s.

Castle Rock Museum
Along the Wisconsin Great River Road in Alma, WI you can discover the Castle Rock Museum. A visit to this museum offers the opportunity to learn about authentic arms and armor throughout European history beginning with ancient Greece and ending in the early modern period. Being an arms and armor museum, Castle Rock displays hundreds of rare and authentic pieces and exhibit areas to walk you through each time period. You’ll see how the arms and armor adapted over time and can enjoy reproductions of famous paintings and interpretive displays to view how the pieces were used during their time period. Some of the displays visitors look forward to are the Dark Ages, the Vikings, the Crusader Knights, and the Renaissance, including pieces from both the noble knight and the common soldier for a comprehensive look into the history of arms and armor.