Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum

the man who made Wisconsin Dells famous

the man who made Wisconsin Dells famous

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Map
215 BroadwayWisconsin Dells 53965
(608) 253-3523
May - October
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
(608) 253-3523
(608) 253-3523
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Civil War soldier. Inventor. Acclaimed Photographer. Make the leap and visit the museum and studio of H.H. Bennett, the man who made the Dells famous!

Begin your journey into the story of H.H. Bennett, the Civil War soldier turned photographer who made the Dells famous. Enjoy interactive exhibits. Step back in time in Bennett’s historic photography studio and sit where families had their portraits stuck in the 1800s. See the famous photographer’s darkroom and visit his original store. Take a Bennett print home with you as you shop through our beautifully renovated museum store.

Visit this hidden gem of the Dells and see where the tourism of this area began!

Classic Experience

In 1875, H.H. Bennett opened a photography studio in Wisconsin Dells which still stands today. A Civil War veteran, Bennett returned in 1864 and, intrigued by the beauty of the area, used his photography to document the beginnings of tourism in Wisconsin Dells. Bennett was a pioneer photographer and is known as the "man who made the Dells famous!" The stunning beauty of his photographs drew visitors to the Dells of the Wisconsin River. His artistry and innovations put him ahead of many of his contemporaries. Without H.H. Bennett and his photography, Wisconsin Dells many not be what it is today.

Convention Overview

H.H. Bennett, landscape photographer, inventor & promoter was "the man who made Wisconsin Dells famous." Tour Bennett's 1875 photography studio; explore 6,000 ft of interactive exhibits. Experience the 3-D effect of Bennett's stereo photographs using handheld 19th-century stereoscope and 21st-century high-resolution computer monitors. Learn how Bennett brought visitors to Kilbourn (now Wisconsin Dells). See how tourism grew in the Dells. Unique gift shop with handmade Bennett prints. A great family experience! Located in the center of downtown Dells.

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Convention Amenities
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H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Rooms and Facilities
Room NameDimensionsSquare FeetCeiling HeightTheatre NumberClassroom NumberBanquet NumberConference Number
Gallery21x439037' 9"60605060
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H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Videos
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H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum
H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Stories
2010-05-05had a good time

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H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum Articles
Antiques Roadshow Came To Town2010-04-01#1 PBS TV show gives appraisal of the photos that made Wisconsin Dells famous.Read More
Antiques Roadshow Came To Town

How do you know you’re an “Antiques Roadshow” junkie?  If you plan your schedule around each new episode, know the stories behind the biggest appraisals, and clamor to get a ticket when you discover the show is coming to town.  Check on all accounts.  When we learned the cast of PBS’ top-ranked program was making a side trip to Wisconsin Dells as part of its taping in nearby Madison, we jumped at the chance to talk to the “stars” of the show. So, you may be asking, what exactly compelled them to travel out of their way to record a segment in the Dells?  None other than the provenance and historical significance of the H.H. Bennett Studio, a state historic site located right downtown.  Bennett, a famed 18th century landscape photographer, is known as “the man who made Wisconsin Dells famous.”  His photographs of the Wisconsin River with its craggy sandstone bluffs and mysterious caverns were what first attracted visitors to the area for rowboat tours.  Photography buffs also know him for his stereoscopic views and his invention of stop-action photography.  And it was those last two items that prompted appraiser C. Wesley Cowan to make a pitch for stopping at Bennett’s studio.  Cowan knew of H.H. Bennett and had collected stereoscopic views himself. Just as Bennett’s family meticulously preserved the photographer’s studio, Cowan noted that “the show has made average Americans more appreciative of family items, compelling people to keep those pieces in the family.”   Our giddy chats with Cowan, host Mark Walberg and executive producer Marsha Bemko quickly turned to news of the show’s first million dollar appraisal - a set of four pieces of carved Chinese jade and celadon - which had just been announced the day before.  Walberg attributed the success of the program, which could easily be described as equal parts adventure, history lesson and treasure hunt, this way: “The American dream of finding something that turns out to be worth a fortune gets people to tune in, and then they get hooked by all the incredibly interesting history.” Speaking of family finds, the rare stereoscopic views housed at the Bennett studio were appraised by Cowan in the hundreds of dollars each.  As for the Madison taping, you’ll just have to tune in to see if anyone came close to unearthing another million dollar find.

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Dandy Reasons for a Downtown Dells Stroll2010-04-02Glockenspiel and the RiverWalk; two free reasons to take a stroll through downtown Wisconsin Dells.Read More
Dandy Reasons for a Downtown Dells Stroll

glockenspiel-downtown-dells-29German Glockenspiel - Downtown Dells

Take the children to see the giant Glockenspiel with a musical re-enactment of the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin every half-hour, on the hour. The legend goes that the Pied Piper rid the town of Hamelin of its rats and mice by charming them away with his flute playing. When the citizens of Hamelin refused to pay the piper the price they had agreed upon, he charmed away their children in revenge.

The German Glockenspiel with its fairy tale re-enactment is FREE making it one of the best Wisconsin Dells deals. It's located in the 400 block of Broadway, Downtown Wisconsin Dells.


dells-river-walk-wi-dells-29Dells RiverWalk

Stroll the Dells RiverWalk with vistas of the Wisconsin River and its sandstone bluffs now easily accessible to the public for the first time in 75 years. This ¼-mile paved path offers Dells visitors not only a breathtaking view of the Dells' unique scenery, but sprinkles in game tables and comfortable benches along its expanse in invitation to sit a spell and take in all of Mother Nature's glory. Walk, bike or run the Dells RiverWalk, but be sure to put this special experience on your Wisconsin Dells itinerary. It's one of the most scenic Wisconsin Dells activities available and it never disappoints.

The Dells RiverWalk entrance is located at the 100 block of Broadway in downtown Wisconsin Dells. It's free and open to the public year-round.


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Heading Downtown? Here's Your Itinerary2010-04-01Here's a whistle-stop itinerary that makes for a nice day in Downtown Dells.Read More
Heading Downtown? Here's Your Itinerary

There are so many ways to slice and dice a day in Downtown Wisconsin Dells, but here's one itinerary to consider that will give you a real taste of both the Dells' classic and contemporary sides.

  1. Begin the day in the Dells with a round of mini-golf at one of the downtown area's courses -- Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf or Timber Falls Adventure Park. It's cooler in the morning, allowing you to make a go at playing dozens and dozens of holes.
  2. Get gussied up in costumes and pose for an old-time photo. Saloon settings are always fun, or maybe the gangster getaway car is more your style.
  3. Set aside quality time for a visit to the H.H. Bennett Studio, one of the great historic Wisconsin Dells attractions. The location is a certified Wisconsin historical site and is the original studio of the famed 19th century landscape photographer who is credited with making the Dells famous.
  4. In keeping with the history of the Dells, walk the RiverWalk and see vistas of the Wisconsin River not accessible for 75 years. This winding paved pathway has benches and game tables nicely spaced along the route.
  5. Stop for lunch off the main avenue at Rail Dog, located at the corner of Oak and Wisconsin. This is a real train car -- a 1956 Milwaukee Road caboose, to be exact -- turned corner hot dog stand. The owners will insist you try their very own homeland creation, the Polish taco. This is just one of many kitschy dining options Downtown Dells.
  6. For dessert, head to any one of the fudge or sweet shops that line the main avenue. Load up on hand-dipped in the Dells chocolate-covered toffee, homemade fudge, gooey caramel apples and saltwater taffy.
  7. Wear off those calories with some retail therapy and check out great Wisconsin Dells deals. There are upscale stores with fashion-forward resort wear and handmade jewelry. There are souvenir shops that give kids a chance to pick up a Wisconsin Dells logo sweatshirt or a pair of moccasins without breaking the vacation budget. And, as you'd expect, there are some great swimwear retailers.
  8. Time to cool off with a tour of the river. Boarding docks are located throughout the downtown area. Hint: If you really want to cool off, try a jet boat ride. You're sure to get plenty wet on one of these!
  9. Would you be surprised to know you can stay downtown? Classic Wisconsin Dells hotels, motels, even a B&B are sprinkled here, there and everywhere.
  10. After checking into your room, head back out for some free entertainment. On most summer evenings, you'll find musicians and dancers at the corner of Broadway and Eddy Street.
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Handy List Of Hands-On Activities2010-01-01Get hands-on. The Dells' definition of "interactive" is a whole lot more fun than Webster's.Read More
Handy List Of Hands-On Activities

Here's a lesson in having fun: Visit places that stretch your mind and body. That's right, learning a little something on vacation can be very entertaining, especially in a place like Wisconsin Dells.

Circus World - Wisconsin Dells Hands On Attractions

Circus World

At America's historic landmark circus museum, kids get to be the star of the show.

H.H. Bennett Studio - Wisconsin Dells Museums

H.H. Bennett Studio

Recreate the Stand Rock jump -- a leap from one bluff to another (only this time on land) made famous when Bennett photographed his son mid-air using his stop-action camera invention.

Tommy Bartlett Exploratory - Interactive Science Center - Hands On Attractions In The Dells

Tommy Bartlett Exploratory - Interactive Science Center

More than 150 interactive exhibits here prove the world is an amazing place.

MagiQuest - Hands On Wisconsin Dells Attractions


Armed with magic wands, kids explore this four-story, live-action adventure game that combines video gaming, role playing and story telling.

Wizard Quest - Interactive Attraction In Downtown Wisconsin Dells

Wizard Quest

This game of strategy puts you smack dab in a full-size world of wizards.



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Time Capsules2010-04-01Landmarks in their own right, these legendary destinations and perennial favorites stand out in their appeal across generations.Read More
Time Capsules

When you've been around as a Wisconsin Dells tourism town for 150+ years, it's inevitable that some attractions will be viewed as more "flashes from the past" than nods to the future. Good thing residents of the Dells have found those "flashes" to be worthy of preservation and visitors have found them to be worthy of continued patronage, because some of these are the last of their kind.

Circus World - Wisconsin Dells Museums


We'll start a short drive out of town in a quaint little community known as Baraboo. There you'll find a national historic landmark -- Circus World. The Ringling Bros. Circus was founded in Baraboo in 1884 by five Ringling brothers and, naturally, they named their property in Baraboo "Ringlingville." This compound along the Baraboo River served as the winter quarters for the troupe. The buildings date from 1897 and, while they are the largest surviving group of original circus structures in North America, the museum's collection of circus artifacts may just be the largest in the world. It includes more than 210 original wagons and an exceptional collection of thousands of circus ads and posters. You can't miss the Buffalo Bill Wild West poster which measures nine feet high by 70 feet long. During the warm weather months, take in a performance in the Hippodrome, see live animals and daydream about what it must have been like to be a circus performer all those decades ago.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum - Wisconsin Dells Museums


For the next stop, it's the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in the town of North Freedom. Stroll museum exhibits of steam locomotives that date back to the 1880s and then hop aboard a restored steel coach for a 50-minute ride through the countryside.

Lost Canyon Tours - Wisconsin Dells Museums


As long as we're on the subject of transportation, let's add to the itinerary a horse-drawn wagon ride at Lost Canyon Tours, located on the south shore of Lake Delton, back in the Dells. This mile-long tour gets you so close to cliff-walled gorges that it's a wonder the large Percheron horses don't get spooked. According to the guides, who really live the part, the deeper recesses of Lost Canyon have not felt the touch of the sun in more than 50,000 years.

Parsons Indian Trading Post & Museum - Wisconsin Dells Museums


Then it's on to Parsons Indian Trading Post & Museum. This business was opened in 1885 by Glenn Parsons, an honorary chief of four Native American tribes and a local river boat captain. Today it stands as one of the world's largest purveyors of Native American gifts and artifacts. Beaded moccasins, satchels, ceremonial capes and bold jewelry are inspired in both their design and technique. Parsons features the work of tribes from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America.

H.H. Bennett Studio - Wisconsin Dells Museums


No historic tour is complete without a visit to the H.H. Bennett Studio, believed to be the oldest business in the Dells. Here, you'll see haunting images of Native American tribespeople and loggers, even Bennett's family. It was Bennett's other-worldly photos of the river and bluffs that helped turn Wisconsin Dells into a bustling tourism town.

Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater - Wisconsin Dells Drive-In Movies


Last stop is the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater with its two big screens, each featuring a first-run double feature. Before the show starts, make a dash for the snack bar for some hot buttered popcorn, icy cold soda and sticky cotton candy. Now that'll take baby boomers back.



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Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

701 Superior Street, PO Box 390
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-0390
(800) 223-3557
(608) 254-4293 (Fax)

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