History & Museums
Monroe County has a rich history that starts with our historic buildings, our military training to literally in to space.
The Monroe County Local History Room & Museum shares the historic Masonic Temple building with the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum. Yes, Astronaut Deke Slayton was born and grew up in Monroe County.
The location of our 2 museums is historic in itself because all four buildings on that intersection are on the Historic Register - the Museum building, the Carnegie Library building, the U.S. Post office building and the Monroe County Courthouse.
The Monroe County Local History Room's purpose is to connect people to the past in a meaningful way. Come and engage, explore, and encounter history at the Monroe County Local History Room & Museum!
The Monroe County Museum offers a number of interactive and multi-generational exhibits pertaining to the history of the County. Both permanent exhibits and regularly changing displays help bring the past to life and engage visitors by illustrating the past lives and experiences of Monroe County.
Deke Slayton was one of America’s first astronauts, part of the Mercury 7 group that was formed by NASA in 1959.Throughout his 20+ year career with NASA. Deke was instrumental in shaping the early days of US manned space flight. In 1975 he was part of the crew for the US/Russian Apollo-Soyuz docking mission, the very first international space mission of its kind which paved the way for the International Space Station.
Why bikes and Deke Slayton? Sparta Wisconsin is the Bicycling Capital of America with the first Rails to Trails Program in the country in which old railroad tracks are converted into bike trails. Deke Slayton is a Sparta native, and one of America’s first astronauts. The community wanted to celebrate both of these traditions, and the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum was born.
Fort McCoy's Commemorative Area, History Center & Equipment Park are located in the installation's 800 block and the area immediately surrounding
The Commemorative Area consists of World War II-era buildings set aside to help tell Fort McCoy's unique story. These facilities, representative of the type found in the cantonment area when it was constructed in 1942, help to depict Soldier life during the 1940s. An administrative facility, a dining facility and one barracks are set up to represent use of each facility during the WWII era. Display items include bunk beds, footlockers and potbelly stoves. The other buildings, both barracks, house informational displays that highlight the events of WWII.
The History Center features displays of memorabilia that reflects the role the installation held throughout WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Cuban Refugee Resettlement center operations, Operation Desert Storm and more
The Equipment Park is an outdoor area used to display historical and present-day equipment representative of the types used on the installation. The design of the park allows for display of more than 70 pieces of equipment, ranging from helicopters and howitzers to trucks and trailers.