New Exhibits and Special Events

We are excited to welcome a new exhibit to Hearthstone as well as a ever-changing variety of special events.  Please read below for details.

The value of an idea lies in the using of it.
— Thomas A. Edison

HS Fishing Exhibit Event LogoSm.jpg

"caught in the Current - Reeling in Edison's Bright Idea"

opens April 5

It started as a conversation between two old fishing friends who were spending the day on Lake Winnebago and it ended with the world's first home to be electrified using a hydroelectric central power station employing the Edison system.

It was the first day of black bass season in the spring of 1882.  Henry Rogers, an industrialist in Appleton, was hosting his friend H. E. Jacobs for a day on the lake.  As Mr. Jacobs began telling his friend how enthusiastic he was for his new job with the Western Edison Light Company of Chicago, Mr. Rogers soon found the idea of electrifying his house and nearby mill more interesting than fishing.

Hearthstone's new exhibit, "Caught in the Current... Reeling in Edison's Bright Idea," tells the story of fishing in the 1880s - 1940s with antique lures, rods, reels, and other gear and memorabilia in almost every room of the house.  But it also tells a larger story, one of the dawn of electrification, of people with vision, and of how a day on the lake changed the world. 

"Caught in the Current" opens April 5 and runs through September 30, 2018.

Tickets for Hearthstone tours include the exhibit.


the history of sport fishing

PResentation by Frank Koffend

Saturday, June 16, 5:00-7:00 pm

hearthstone HISTORIC house MUSEUM 

Join us for a one-of-a-kind presentation by Frank Koffend, renown sports fishing authority.  Frank will regale the audience with stories of sport fishing from ancient times (think Anthony and Cleopatra) through the immortal Treaties on Fishing written by Juliana Berners in 1496 (Hearthstone's exhibit features a 1880s copy of this first "How To" fishing book) to today.  Mr. Koffend's presentation will feature fishing stories and fun facts that anglers of all ages will appreciate.

Tickets to the presentation include viewing the exhibits of vintage creels, lures, and early fly rods in the "Caught in the Current" exhibition.

Mr. Koffend is a lifetime collector or early fishing artifacts and his collection forms the basis of the Hearthstone exhibits.  He has contributed to books including The American Rowboat Motor and 19th Century Fishing Lures.  He is a charter member of the National Fishing Lure Collector Club.  

Please note:  only 20 tickets will be sold to this event.





7 PM - 9 PM

Experience Hearthstone in a whole new way.  Join us for an evening tour of Hearthstone by the light of Edison bulbs in our original electroliers and experience the Rogers family and their servants preparing for a big dinner party.

Our docents in period dress will serve as re-enactors as you move from room to room to hear the Rogers family tell their thoughts on the night's festivities.  Docents as cooks, maids, and other servants tell their stories as well - as Hearthstone was home to more than one family in more than one way.  Evening tours recreate a fascinating environment and the feel of the first nights to be electrically lit in the house - some of the first nights to be lit by electricity anywhere in the world.

Our evening tours also feature piano performances of 19th century music performed on one of the very few playable square grand pianos still in existence in the United States.  Step into a time when the piano was the focus of a home's entertainment, when gathering around while a family member played was the focus of family life.  The music adds to the magic of the evening.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please arrive a few minutes early to purchase tickets (cash, credit or debit card).  Tickets may be purchased in advance by clicking the button below.

Unfortunately, M.A.P. passes cannot be used for evening tours.

Please note:  Because of the historic nature of Hearthstone, stairs are the only means of access to the second floor.  The first floor and lower level are wheel chair accessible via an electric lift.