Frequently Asked Questions
How many official Wisconsin historical markers are erected in the state?
There are more than 520 official state markers in Wisconsin that carry approved historical inscriptions commemorating sites, individuals, buildings, or events of local, state, or national significance.
What topics qualify for a historical marker?
Markers should describe one of the following aspects of Wisconsin's history: history, architecture, culture, archaeology, ethnic associations, geology, natural history, or legends. Guidance in researching your topic is available online.
Where can I find a list of historical markers in Wisconsin?
History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers, edited by Sarah Davis McBride, is an award-winning guide to Wisconsin's state markers. This well-illustrated book includes marker texts, historic and current photographs, and is arranged by geographic region.
You may also consult the Complete List of Current Historical Markers (PDF, 154 KB).
I noticed that a marker is missing or damaged, whom should I contact?
To report a marker that is missing or damaged, please contact Rick Bernstein. Please provide the title of the marker and its location.
Who can apply for a historical marker?
Anybody can apply for a marker as long as the topic addresses an aspect of Wisconsin's history. The applicant must also be able to pay for the cost of the marker, agree to maintain it, and have permission of the landowner where the marker is to be erected.
Do I need to fill out an application for a marker?
An application form must be completed for every historic marker desired. Find information on how to apply on our website or request information by mail.
How much do markers cost?
Markers are available in a variety of sizes, fonts, and prices. The Historical Marker Price List (PDF, 46 KB) includes descriptions of available sizes and costs.
How long does it take to get a marker?
The marker text requires approval of Wisconsin Historical Society staff. Please allow up to 6 months for staff to review your application. After this approval, the Wisconsin Historical Society will order the marker from the foundry. Generally, the marker is cast and shipped to the applicant within 4-6 weeks from the time the foundry receives your order.
What is the approval process?
Wisconsin Historical Society staff review draft marker text prepared by the applicant. Usually draft text needs to be modified and is returned to the applicant with suggestions. Be sure to allow time for approval if you are planning a commemoration for a specific date. Once the Wisconsin Historical Society and the applicant agree on the final version of the text, the marker is ordered.
Who manufactures Wisconsin historical markers and State Register of Historic Places plaques?
Sewah Studios produces all official Wisconsin historical markers. Standard State Register plaques are manufactured by Colonial Brass Company; those with custom inscriptions are produced by Sewah Studios.
If a property is listed in the State Register of Historic Places or the National Register of Historic Places, does it automatically receive a plaque?
No. State or National Register of Historic Places plaques no longer require approval from the Wisconsin Historical Society. You may now order a plaque for your registered historic property directly from the vendor. The following websites are provided to assist you in locating suppliers. This list is not a recommendation. Other suppliers may exist:
How can I determine if a property is listed in the State Register of Historic Places of the National Register of Historic Places?
The Architecture and History Inventory, or AHI, is a search engine that provides historical and architectural information on approximately 130,000 properties in Wisconsin. The AHI includes all Wisconsin properties (except archaeological sites) listed on the State Register of Historic Places or National Register of Historic Places.