The DeForest Area Historical Society is responsible for maintaining and/or interpreting history at four sites in DeForest.
The primary museum, the Hansen-Newell-Bennett House, is located at 119 East Elm Street in DeForest and includes several permanent displays, including historical information on the early schools, churches, and businesses in the area. Rooms on the first floor—parlor, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom—are interpreted from the early 1900s period, before the advent of electricity. The museum may be opened by request for special tours and activities during the months of June through October. Open Houses are often scheduled for the second Sunday afternoon, June through October. Check the Calendar of Events in the DeForest Times-Tribune.
The Lyster House, a second home museum, is located at 151 Commerce Street. The exterior and one room in the interior have been restored to the 1930's period. The DeForest-Windsor Chamber of Commerce rents a portion of the first floor for its offices. The building is open during Chamber hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., unless meetings are scheduled off site.
The exterior of the DeForest Railroad Depot has been completely restored to its 1930's appearance. Originally constructed in 1871 and one of the most historically significant structures in DeForest, the building is located at 215 Market Street, just south of the Lyster House. The exterior and grounds are open to the public during all daylight hours. The interior is not generally open to the public and is used for the storage of the Society’s large artifacts. The platform which surrounds the restored building on three sides is considered handicapped accessible, but it is important to exercise caution when walking in this area.
A display, gallery, office, work area, and archival storage area are located on the first floor of the DeForest Area Public Library, 203 Library Street. This is the primary repository in the area for historical photographs, documents, manuscripts, and books, including information on genealogy, obituaries, area cemeteries, and area veterans. A microfilm reader-printer is available, along with microfilm reels and newspapers from 1896 through the present. The gallery is available to the public during all library hours. (The display currently featured is described on the Collections page.) Volunteers are on site at the library on most Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00-11:30 a.m. or by special appointment.