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Highlights Archives

Lake Geneva Conference a Major Success


M. Caren Connolly, Louis Wasserman and Zane Williams (seated, left to right) sign copies of their book, "Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes," in one of the homes featured in the book, Wadsworth Hall

More than 350 people gathered in Lake Geneva October 15-16 for Wisconsin's largest conference of historic preservation and local history enthusiasts. Representatives from 47 Wisconsin counties and 138 local organizations and affiliates participated in the Local History and Historic Preservation Conference, hosted by the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Council for Local History. This record-setting attendance is a 19-percent increase in attendance from the 2009 conference and a 65-percent increase from attendance in 2008.

Attendees learned from educational sessions and workshops on a wide range of topics presented by nationally renowned speakers, success stories from representatives of Wisconsin's local historical organizations, and expertise from Wisconsin Historical Society staff. Staff from the Society's Information Technology office, the Library and Archives, Museums and Historic Sites, and Historic Preservation–Public History divisions, as well as the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, were on hand to present educational sessions and share ideas with attendees. Many of the presentations and handouts from these sessions will soon be posted to our website if you missed a session or couldn't make it to the conference.

Plenty of Opportunities for Entertainment and Networking

Between the educational sessions there were multiple opportunities for entertainment and networking. Friday's lunch speaker, author Jerry Apps, explained how Wisconsin's historic barns are an essential part of sharing the stories of Wisconsin history. On Saturday, M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman, authors of the Society's new book, "Wisconsin's Own," detailed in typically lively fashion how they tackled the arduous task of selecting only 20 extraordinary Wisconsin homes out of the 1,500 originally considered. They gave special recognition to the local historical societies and preservationists who made the book possible by preserving the buildings, historical documents and artifacts that tell the stories of Wisconsin's contribution to American residential architecture.

On Friday night a special conference fundraising event was held at one of the "Wisconsin's Own" featured homes, Wadsworth Hall. The authors, along with photographer Zane Williams (pictured above), signed books while attendees toured the first floor and grounds of this extraordinary home. Other conference attendees sat down with new and old friends to enjoy a fish fry at the Red Geranium. The fun didn't end when the conference adjourned. Many people continued their visit to the Lake Geneva area with tours of Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay and the plush Victorian estate, Black Point, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Save the Dates for 2011

If you weren't able to join us this year, start planning now for the 2011 Local History and Historic Preservation Conference in Stevens Point on September 23-24.

:: Posted October 18, 2010

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