Perched upon the top of the hill on Trinity Street, the Wise County Heritage Museum offers three floors of countless treasures from the past.
Though its been years since the building housed the Decatur Baptist College, many artifacts from those college years can still be seen on the first floor of the museum. Relics include old letterman jackets, yearbooks, pennants and photographs.
Just a few feet away from the college display are rows of glass bottles from the Decatur Glass Factory. The factory was founded in the 1950s by Herman Rosensweig, an Austrian who fled Europe during the Holocaust. His products were sold all over the country: from local retail stores to Macy’s in New York.
Another of the museum’s prized displays is the Lost Battalion Room on the third floor. The room serves as a tribute to the local soldiers whom Japan took as prisoners of war in the Dutch East Indies during World War II.
Members of this battalion were mostly from Wise and Jack counties. The Japanese held them captive for more than three years under brutal conditions.
In addition to historic displays, the museum also offers genealogy services. Armed with newspaper archives and funeral, marriage and birth records, the staff helps people trace their Wise County family history back to the 19th century.
The museum operates on donations, admissions, sales from its gift shop and fundraising events throughout the year.
Wise County Historical Society members are $10 per year for adults, $15 for a married couple and $150 for a single lifetime membership. Members are admitted free to the museum with show of card.
- 1602 South Trinity St.
- (940) 627-5586
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday – Saturday
- Tours are available by calling the museum’s number or (940) 627-3732.
- A ramp and elevator are available to make the museum easily accessible.
- Adults – $1
- Children (12 and under) – 50 cents
- Lost Battalion Room
- An 1886 funeral coach purchased in 1904
- Switchboard from 1963
- Antique furniture from Wise County
- Firefighter squirt gun
- Stand-up desk from the Wise County Messenger during the 1920s and ’30s
- Decatur Baptist College Memorabilia
- G.C. Rann Auditorium
- Plays run throughout the year in the G.C. Rann Auditorium
- November: Wise Country Fall Out, auditions are in August