1st Public Library (Now Historical Museum)

Sun Prairie Museum 001

About the Building

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, as part of the Downtown Historic District. This 1924 red brick building is located at 115 E. Main Street in downtown Sun Prairie. The building was designed by Alvin E. Small who was born in Sun Prairie in 1869. He attended school in Sun Prairie and became a well-known architect in Madison, responsible for designing many prairie-style homes and several Madison buildings.

Originally designed as a Public Library, established in 1924, this building was constructed on the land occupied by the original Bird family homestead. Now serving the community as the municipal Historical Museum since 1969, past uses of this building include City Offices, the original site of the Colonial Club Senior Center, and for a short time served as a World War II Red Cross Center where volunteers rolled bandages and donated blood.

In the summer of 2018, some of the Museum’s windows were blown out and walls were cracked from the gas explosion one block away. Most items in the Museum collection needed to be removed and stored off-site so some major renovations could take place. Over the next year and a half, new low-E glass windows were installed to resist ultraviolet (UV) light exposure to exhibit displays, wall-to-wall carpet was removed and the wood floors were restored, a new wheelchair lift and ADA restroom were installed and the walls were re-plastered and painted.