The southwest wall of the Center Hall is devoted to the Old Courthouse itself, which is the subject of the numerous drawings, photographs, paintings and three-dimensional works of art displayed.
The hall also features: an interesting exhibit of millennia-old arrowheads, spear points and artifacts from the area’s earliest inhabitants; a farming display, copies of very old maps of the region, and an exhibit of the infamous shooting and lynching which occurred in Durand in 1881.
The Durand Room displays highlight: America’s greatest female educator, Helen Parkhurst; Miles Durand Prindle – founder the City of Durand; the historic bridges crossing the Chippewa River at Durand; one-room country schools of Pepin County; and, local artists Marge Mason and Esther Baur. Other artifacts of interest include statues and a crucifix carved by Michael Anibas and Michael Flicker in 1886; a Catholic eucharistic service set for the homebound; and, Ethel (Jaquish) Rayburn’s Papal Cross.
People In Uniform Room
The People In Uniform Room honors Pepin County’s men and women in uniform including soldiers, sailors, fire-fighters, police officers, athletes, and members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, marching bands, and musical groups.
Items of interest include: a rare, nearly complete collection of History of the War of the Rebellion (Civil War); the musket-and-bayonet carried by Charles Richrdson during the civil War; a display of vintage children’s clothing and toys; an antique baby stroller; a log cabin doll house modeled on a 19th-century log cabin that stood in the Town of Waterville; the Dorwin’s Mill 3-dimensional artwork by Vera Hawke; vintage police and fire-fighting equipment; a 1901 football helmet and sports uniforms; and the still-working hand-crank Victrola record player.
An exhibit highlighting the life of “Wisconsin’s Homemaker Poet” Elizabeth Clarke Hardy dominates the Household Room. This room also features products, tools and appliances used in and around the home including vintage clothing, a hand-pump vacuum, a parlor stove and a 19th-century “Handy Washing Machine”.
The Medical Room focuses on health care professions with equipment, furnishings, and other artifacts from a doctor’s and a dentist’s offices, a former local hospital, a pharmacy, and a barbershop.
The Railroad Room features artifacts from the former Durand railroad depot and old post office. Items of interest include the telegraph/Morse Code equipment, old scales, a hand-powered rail drilling tool, a boxcar mover, and a railroad car portable heater; plus, numerous photographs, paintings and a scale model replica of the depot. Just outside the door of the Railroad Room is an old hand-crank telephone.
The Agriculture Room emphasizes the importance of community cooperation in the development of the farming industry in Pepin County. Notable exhibits include a scale model replica of a timber-framed dairy barn and a vintage foot-powered milking machine patented in 1908.
More than a dozen paintings by Durand artist C. H. Gleason adorn the walls at the back of the upstairs courtroom and in the jury room. Paintings in oil, water-color and pastel are included in the collection; many are more than 100 years old and several are very large. Most of these pieces hung on the walls of local civic organizations, businesses and individuals.