Restoration of the Henry & Hill Building
at 118 N. Franklin Street

Henry & Hill Building Prior to Renovation

Henry & Hill Building Prior to Renovation

In May of 2012 with the help of a generous donation, the Port Washington Historical Society acquired the historic 1907 Henry & Hill building and embarked on a complete restoration of the building that is now the Port Exploreum.

Saved from demolition, the building had an early history as the community’s Business Men’s Club. Over the years the building served as the home for numerous businesses. With the acquisition of the building in 2012, the Port Washington Historical Society and the Port Exploreum Advisory Board launched the creation of a local history museum that would, in an engaging and interactive way, tell the stories of the people who made Port Washington the community that it is today.

Architect's Rendering

Architect's Rendering of Port Exploreum

Planning began in 2012 and restoration in 2013. The state of building when acquired was that of a partially gutted and totally stripped building ready for demolition. Restoration has involved a new roof, mechanical systems, and windows, restoration of front entrance, creation of a stairway, addition of elevator, creation of an atrium at the front of the building, the addition of restrooms and a deck off the back of the building. The lower level has been transformed into an area that will engage and enlighten children about our connection to Lake Michigan.

Restoration of the interior and exterior has given the building new purpose. A project that has grown to 2.3 million dollars, has brought together foundations and individuals who believe in the history of the area and the challenge of preserving our great Lake Michigan.

Port Exploreum Restoration


1860 Lighthouse and Light Station Port Exploreum Resource Center