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About the Wisconsin Council for Local History

A Proud Tradition

In 1899 Reuben Gold Thwaites, director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, traveled by train to Green Bay and Ripon. He was there to participate in the affiliation of Wisconsin's first two local historical societies with the state Society. Since then, more than 380 additional local societies throughout the state have organized and affiliated with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Affiliated local historical societies and the Wisconsin Historical Society have a special relationship defined in the Wisconsin Statutes. The Society offers organizational and educational assistance to local affiliates. The local societies, in turn, share in the mission and responsibility of preserving Wisconsin's heritage. This partnership has received national recognition, and it continues to serve as a model for other states.

The Wisconsin Council for Local History

In 1961 the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin Historical Society authorized the establishment of the Wisconsin Council for Local History. The council consists of all historical organizations affiliated with the state Society. Any local history group can become a member of the council by becoming an affiliate of the WHS. For information about becoming an affiliate of the Wisconsin Historical Society and a member of the Wisconsin Council for Local History go to organizing a historical society.

The mission of the Wisconsin Council for Local History is to promote communication and cooperation among local history groups. The council provides opportunities for historical organizations in Wisconsin to discuss mutual problems and promote wider interest in local history.

Through its Administrative Committee, the council also advises the state Society on its local history programming and serves as a voice of local historians. For more information about the Administrative Committee, go to organization of the Wisconsin Council for Local History.

An Umbrella for Diverse Heritages

The local historical societies that comprise the Wisconsin Council for Local History represent a variety of geographic locales, such as counties, reservations, cities, villages, townships and neighborhoods. The council also includes organizations with specialized interests such as railroading, labor history, cemeteries and particular ethnic heritages. The council brings together historical organizations from all parts of Wisconsin. A complete listing of the over 380 member organizations of the Wisconsin Council for Local History appears in the local history society directory.


 

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