Albion Academy Historical Society
The Albion Academy Historical Society maintains the Albion Academy Museum located near Edgerton in South-central Wisconsin.
Kumlien Hall rooms feature Academy life from the 1860s to 19 “teens” in a Parlor, Dining Room, Kitchen, Boys’ and Girls’ Dorm Rooms and Library. There is a 1918 Classroom, Chapel and Albion History Room. The Albion Tigers Home Talent Baseball team is featured in the Costume Room on the 2nd floor. (The Albion Tigers is a Hometown League baseball team that plays ball in the ballpark next to the museum.)
The Sheepskin School is a rural one-room schoolhouse looking just like it did when it was closed in 1959 after consolidation with the Edgerton School District. The school was built before the Civil War.
Visiting The Museum
We are open for tours SUNDAYS
1 pm – 4 pm in the months of
JUNE, JULY, and AUGUST.
Arrange a tour at other times by...
emailing at email@example.com
or calling at (608) 774-4339
or (608) 322-7967
No charge for touring the museum, but donations are appreciated.
The Albion Academy Historical Museum is located in the southeast corner of Dane County, Wisconsin, at the site of the Albion Academy. The museum is located at Exit 160 of I-90, 2 miles north of Edgerton, WI in the village of Albion.
605 Campus Lane
A park with playground equipment, picnic shelter and bathrooms is located across the street of the 2-story brick museum.
612 Albion Road, Edgerton, WI
You may need to use a nearby address for some GPS systems - 583 Edgerton Road, Edgerton, WI
Gary Durgin 608-774-4339
Thad Andrews 608-212-8467
Nancy Durgin 608-774-4339
Eric Baker 608-322-7967
Kent Marsden 608-921-9556
We meet six times a year in the months of April to September. Call an officer for more information. We would like to have you join our team!
The Albion Academy Historical Society will preserve, advance and disseminate knowledge of the history of the Albion Academy and Sheepskin School and the surrounding community by maintaining a Museum that is open to the public, is available for private tours, welcomes researchers and maintains a public exhibit in the Albion Town Hall.
The Albion Academy was founded in 1853 and opened in 1854 as Wisconsin's first institute of co-educational higher education. It was founded by the Northwestern Association of Seventh Day Baptists and was administered by this Association until 1894. As many as 262 students attended classes at one time with about 100 boarding at the facility. Upon completion students were awarded a degree of Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B) for men and Laureate of Philosophy (Ph.L) for women.
In 1875, Wisconsin passed a free high school law. Until then if a student wished to attend a university they would have to attend a private academy. Many of these academies, like Albion Academy, would combine high school and college education. The availability of free high schools decreased enrollment of the academies and many of them closed. The Albion Academy closed its doors in 1892.
From 1894 until 1901, Peter Hendrickson, a former Beloit College professor, purchased the buildings and ran the academy as a private school. From 1901 until 1918 a Norwegian Lutheran synod bought and ran the Academy.
Twelve acres of land was donated to the Academy by Jesse Saunders. The Campus' three original buildings, South Hall, Main (Ladies' Hall), and North Hall (Chapel Hall), were filled with students until 1918, although in 1915 Main Hall (Ladies Hall) burned and was never replaced. The entire 12 acre campus and its two remaining buildings were purchased by the Town of Albion in 1928. The land was turned into a public park and the remaining buildings were used for rental homes for town employees in the 1930s. North Hall (Chapel Hall) was eventually condemned and razed in 1942-1943. The old bricks from this building were cleaned and used for the walls of the Town Garage. The beloved Chapel Bell was saved and placed over South Hall.
Left: South Hall - classrooms and men's dormitory
Center: Main Hall (Ladies' Hall) - classrooms,
women's dormitory and cafeteria
Right: North Hall (Chapel Hall) - chapel, classrooms,
In 1959 a parcel of land and South Hall were deeded to the Albion Historical Society as a museum. The rest of the campus remains as the Albion Park. The park includes a ball diamond, where the Albion Tigers, a Home Talent baseball team still calls home. Restoration of the South Hall started immediately and the museum opened in 1960. South Hall was renamed Kumlien Hall (in honor of Thure Kumlien, one of the Academy's former professors, world renowned naturalist and prominent character in Sterling North's book about the Albion Prairie - Koshkonong area, The Wolfing). Kumlien Hall also contained many of the original Sterling North artifacts along with the birch-bark canoe of Rascal fame.
In December 1965, Kumlien Hall burned to the ground. A new two-story building using the same architectural design, replaced the original Kumlien Hall in 1967. The Chapel Bell, rescued from the fire, was placed in the building for display. The museum reopened in June, 1969.
Another addition to the museum was the one-room Sheepskin School, originally located west of Edgerton on Hwy 59. This part of the museum shows a typical Albion / Edgerton country school classroom with the variety and style of education common to the era.
Please reach out with any questions or comments you have about the Albion Academy or the surrounding area.
Or call one of our officers