The Bayfield Heritage Association, an affiliate of the Wisconsin Historical Society, is a nonprofit dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the history and culture of Bayfield and our surrounding region.
Entrance door to the Bayfield Heritage Association museum

2024 Museum Hours

Open June 18 – Sept. 21

Tuesday – Saturday
1-4:00 pm

Or by appointment:
Call (715) 779-5958

We Are…

…small but mighty, award-winning and recognized as a regional leader for local history organizations. We have received two awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society recognizing the quality of our museum exhibits (2010) and our educational programming (2021) for re-envisioning and launching our “virtual” John Matthew Black program series.

The Bayfield Heritage Association (BHA) has served Bayfield, Wisconsin and the surrounding Lake Superior region for nearly five decades. We are unique in that we not only collect and preserve our areas’ past through an extensive physical and electronic archival collection, but we bring this history to life through museum exhibits, educational programming and preservation of historic sites.

We are also…

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We are dedicated to:

    • Fostering an understanding and appreciation for our region’s rich heritage.
    • Building a strong community identity by sharing the stories of Bayfield’s past.
    • Attracting visitors of all ages and backgrounds through engaging exhibits, rich educational programming, and fellowship opportunities.
    • Providing a space for our community to continue making its history, thus adding to Bayfield’s enduring legacy.

To remain a leader and valuable community resource, the Board of Directors continues to actively plan so that we can thrive for the next 50+ years. In 2019, the Board underwent a Strategic Planning process, developing a 5-year roadmap that outlines specific goals and actions to further BHA’s mission. It also lays the groundwork for a future museum expansion. In 2019, BHA acquired the parcel of land just to our north, anticipating the need for added archival storage, exhibit and program space down the road.

Explore our 2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan


Community Focused

BHA has been instrumental in shaping the historic character of our downtown and embedding this into the culture and experience of Bayfield.

Some examples include:

  • Helping to establish the Bayfield Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Raising funds to save the Old Bayfield County Courthouse in the 1970’s which currently serves as the National Park Service headquarters.
  • Commissioning Big Top Chautauqua’s popular Riding the Wind historic musical in 1985.


Our Recent Accomplishments

We are pleased to share that, as of summer 2021, we have accomplished nearly all of the goals and objectives outlined in our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan!

We have our donors, grantors, hard-working staff and volunteers to thank for this! Our most recent accomplishments include:


    • Adding the new Bayfield Model Railroad exhibit on our lower level.
    • Restoring local historic landmarks including the Old Bayfield City Jail and Fountain Garden Park.
    • Redesigning and improving our website.
    • Creating a 360 virtual museum experience.
    • Developing a growing collection of virtual programs and resources.
    • Winning the 2021 Wisconsin Historical Society’s Public Program Award.

Our Staff

Marti PetersonOffice Manager/Treasurer – Contact

Tony JeannetteDigital, Web, Social Media – Contact

Our Board of Directors

Jerry PhillipsPresident 

Marilyn Van SantVice President

Marti PetersonTreasurer

Sue GerzinaSecretary

Kristin Connell

Mary Jo Fairbanks

Ellen Hauser

John Klungness

Mike Spence

Dan Wilczek