Become a Member
Membership in the Vernon County Historical Society includes a subscription to the quarterly newsletter and free admission to the museum. General membership meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, January-May and September-October. Donations towards upkeep of the Vernon County Historical Society's four sites can be sent to the Vernon County Historical Society at PO Box 444, Viroqua, WI 54665.
Become a member or renew on-line:
What is the Dawson Club**
In 1941 John Jeremiah McLain "Jerre" Dawson and other prominent citizens chartered the first Vernon County Historical Society. He donated his house and land for the first museum and became the society's first president. The first museum was located where the Vernon Memorial Hospital now stands.
The Dawson Club was created in 1991 from a suggestion to have a "$100 per year" club in honor of Jerre Dawson. The sole purpose of the club was to raise additional funds on an annual basis. The money was to be used for special projects or items suggested by the Museum staff and to be chosen by the members of the club.
Purchases made with the money from the club include:
- Signs for the four Vernon County Historical Sites
- Restoration of the 1878 map of Vernon County
- Fire Detection System at the Sherry-Butt House
- A storage shed for the Museum
- Electronic equipment:
- copy machine
- computer hardware and software
- digital camera
- AV equipment for the conference room
- microfilm and microfiche readers.
**Taken from the "Dawson Heritage Club and Dawson Family History" Available at the Museum.
Photo of the Dawson family (circa 1900) "...taken at night by use of flash powder; photo taken by Mr. Pearly King of Iowa; in the parlor of the John Dawson home, 525 S. Main St., Viroqua. Left to right: Lucy Dawson, John J.M. ("Jerre") Dawson, John Dawson (on sofa), Martha Dawson."
Note the portrait of Jerre Dawson hanging on the wall in the photo (right of center):
The portrait currently resides at the Vernon County Museum.
The Dawson Friends Club would like to conserve and restore the portrait of Jerre Dawson, which was painted around 1900. Many years ago the painting got wet, and now the paint is flaking off the canvas. The cost of stabilizing the painting and repairing the damage is $2700. The work will be done by a professional painting conservator. Please consider sponsoring a portion of this project.