Villa Louis Historic Site opening for reservation-only tours, programs

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Beginning in July, several of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s historic sites and museums, including the Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, will begin to open for in-person reservation-only special tours and programs.

Also in southwest Wisconsin, Stonefield in Cassville, will offer reservation-only special tours and programs while Pendarvis, in Mineral Point, and First Capitol, in Belmont, will remain closed at this time.

The programs offered at the sites will be limited in capacity for the safety of guests and staff.

Villa Louis will offer Mansion tours every Wednesday, Thursday and every other Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Every other Friday, Riverfront History Walking tours will be offered at 10 a.m. and Behind the Scenes Tours will be offered at 1 p.m. 

In lieu of the War of 1812: Battle of Prairie du Chien event, Villa Louis will be offering specialty walking tours and Behind the Scenes Tours on the anniversary weekend of the event. On July 17-18, special War of 1812 focused walking tours will be available at 9 a.m. and Behind the Scenes tours will be available at 1 p.m. Tour capacity is extremely limited and reservations are required for all tours until further notice. To make reservations, call 326-2721. 

Other area sites

Stonefield Historic Site will offer self-guided tours by appointment every other weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) starting Friday, July 10 through Sept. 20. During these self-guided tours, guests can explore the State Agriculture Museum and select buildings in the 1900s village. To make a reservation, call (608) 725-5210.

The public can still hike the Merry Christmas Mine Hill at Pendarvis and walk the grounds at First Capitol. The buildings will remain closed at this time. 

Each historic site and museum will also implement enhanced health and safety measures that adhere to the Badger Bounce Back state government guidelines. Policies will prioritize an abundance of caution and will vary according to each site’s unique risk factors. At each location, the following guidelines will be followed:

•Guests and staff will be asked to adhere to proper social distancing regulations, and it is highly recommended that face masks are worn while interacting.

•The number of visitors will be limited to ensure proper social distancing.

•All facilities will adhere to significantly increased daily cleaning and sanitation requirements and there will be cleaning stations in each building.

•Guests and staff who are exhibiting symptoms or think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to stay home.

Visit wisconsinhistory.org/sites for up-to-date information on current restrictions, guest policies, and additional guidelines that are specific to each location.

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