Mission and History


The mission of the Hoard Historical Museum is to preserve, protect and promote the history and culture of Fort Atkinson and the surrounding area from its earliest inhabitants to the present day.


The Hoard Historical Museum started as a project of the Fort Atkinson chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1933. The ladies met in the home of Luella Hoard with the goal of celebrating the city’s centennial in 1936. The DAR collected historic artifacts and stored them in a basement room of the Dwight Foster Public Library. As the collection grew, citizens became interested and were allowed to see the collection on Saturdays, making it the city’s first museum. In 1936, the Dwight Foster Library Museum became official.

In 1957, the museum was moved to the former home of Luella Hoard. Her children had gifted their family home to the city with the intent of becoming the museum. In 1980, the National Dairy Shrine was completed and became part of the Museum campus. Since then, there have been additional expansions resulting in over 20,000 square feet of exhibit and collection storage space.

Today, the Hoard Historical Museum is a regional resource for local history and cultural heritage, as well as a community gathering place. It exists as the result of a unique partnership between the City of Fort Atkinson and the Fort Atkinson Historical Society, since 1939. The National Dairy Shrine joined these two partners in 1980.

As both a City Department and a private membership organization, the Museum receives about 60 percent of its funding from the City. The other 40 percent comes from Society membership fees, gifts, trust funds and grants. A 16-member Board of Directors governs the Fort Atkinson Historical Society.

About the National Dairy Shrine Museum

The National Dairy Shrine Museum,  which is attached to the Hoard Historical Museum, encompasses two floors and features a multimedia show, as well as numerous displays of dairying artifacts, awards, cow breeds. Founded in 1949 by a small group of visionary dairy leaders, the National Dairy Shrine now has nearly 18,000 members representing virtually every facet of the industry.