Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

How to Form a Historical Society or Organization

Help for Local Historians from the Wisconsin Historical Society | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society offers local historical organizations advice and assistance in organizing. The Society and the Wisconsin Council for Local History work together to sponsor meetings and programs that create a strong network of historical organizations throughout Wisconsin. 

Initial Steps for Organizing a Local Historical Society or Organizations

Prospective local historical societies or organizations may apply to affiliate with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Those who successfully affiliate enter into a special relationship with the Society and receive a variety of benefits. The Society's Local History - Field Services Program assists all new affiliated historical organizations with the steps of preparing bylaws and incorporating as a private non-stock corporation with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). This assistance is provided by the Society's Local History-Field Services representatives to all historical organizations approved for affiliation by the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

To be eligible for affiliation, an organization must satisfy the following criteria: 

  • The organization must be located in Wisconsin.
  • The purpose of the organization must be primarily historical.
  • Membership in the organization must be open to any interested person for the payment of reasonable dues.
  • The organization must incorporate and receive tax-exempt status.
  • The organization may not be a unit of government.
  • The organization must include in its bylaws articles on Affiliation and Dissolution 

How to Become a Local History Affiliate

The following resources will help you apply for affiliation with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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Have Questions?

EnlargeMap of Wisconsin Field Services Regions

Wisconsin Field Services Regions


Contact the Northern Representative:

Janet Seymour
c/o University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire,
Hibbard 733
105 Garfield Avenue, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701-4004
Phone: 715-836-2250

Contact the Southern Representative:

Richard Bernstein
Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street,
Room 455
Madison, WI 53706-1482
Phone: 608-264-6583

Conservation Resources

The following list provides resources you can use to help you preserve and conserve objects in your collections.