The Tomah Area Historical Society had its beginning because of the hard work and generosity of many individuals in the Tomah community. It has grown from a simple dream into a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and preserving items from the area’s past.
The building in which the museum was originally housed was a barbershop in one half and a delicatessen in the other.
In 1963, Joyce Mades opened a lady’s specialty shop called the clothes Post. She continued in business for 35 years.
Joyce and her husband, Frosty, were active in the community and donated their time and talents to many civic organizations. One of Joyce’s dreams was to help develop a museum in Tomah for all to enjoy. In 1997, the Mades donated the building at 1112 Superior Avenue to be used as the home for the museum. In 2019 the Tomah Museum moved to 321 Superior Avenue.
From humble beginnings, the museum has grown and prospered. It is now a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a Board of Directors and an active membership. The Society is not affiliated with any government agency and is operated on public donations, membership dollars, and limited public and private grants. It coordinates the activities of the Little Red School House in Gillette Park, as well as sponsors fundraisers throughout the year and solicits donations that are tax-deductible.
The purpose of the Tomah Area Historical Society, Inc. is to collect and preserve the records of the Tomah Area's early years through objects, records of agriculture, early residents, military history, railroading, and the history of Monroe County, Wisconsin. This includes the surrounding areas of Tunnel City, Mather, Kirby, Warrens, Oakdale and other small townships nearby. It also may include a small part of Juneau County to include Camp Douglas and the early years of Volk Field. The collection will be identified, recorded, compiled and preserved for display and education by the current curator with the assistance of the Executive Director.
The purpose is to provide visitors with knowledge of early life in Tomah and the surrounding areas as well as assist with genealogy research when requested.