Wisconsin Historical Society

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Local History Webinars

Training Programs for the Local Historian

Local History Webinars from Local History-Field Services | Wisconsin Historical Society

2018-19 Local History Webinars

The Wisconsin Historical Society's Local History-Field Services 2018-19 webinar season is under way! A full schedule is in the works, so bookmark this page and check back soon to see what we have in store for all of our over 400 local historical affiliates and more. All local history webinars are free and open to anyone interested in local history and the tools needed to collect, preserve and share your stories.

Recordings of all past local history webinars are available here.

September 5, 2018 - Why Aren't You Asking for Year-End Gifts?
EnlargeDonna Ann Harris

Donna Ann Harris, Principal of Heritage Consulting Inc.

Presented by Donna Ann Harris, Heritage Consulting Inc.

Donna Ann Harris is the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that works nationwide providing training, research, coaching and consulting services on historic preservation, audience development, volunteer management, heritage tourism, program planning and organizational development issues for historic organizations and sites.

Prior to starting her firm fourteen years ago, Ms. Harris was state coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program for two years and the manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program for four years. During her tenure, Ms. Harris served 56 Illinois Main Street communities, led a staff of 12 and managed a budget of over a million dollars. Prior to her Main Street career, Ms. Harris spent 15 years as an executive director of three start-ups and two mature preservation organizations, each with its own organizational and fundraising challenges.

According to Charity Navigator, your history organization could be raising up to 40 percent of its donations during the last six weeks of the year through an effective year-end appeal. This workshop will give you an overview and tools to implement a year-end campaign using both social and traditional media to seek support for the general operations of your historic site. This fast-paced program will outline a simple ten-step process to implement a campaign starting in mid-November until December 31. We will discuss how to create a realistic financial goal, prepare your website for online donations, sort mailing lists, create compelling stories and letters/emails, reinforce the campaign with appropriate PR, schedule and automate thank you letters and prepare for the last push between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Participants will receive an extensive resource packet of materials including the slide deck, articles, calendar and bibliography.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

October is Wisconsin Archives Month

October 3, 2018 - Wisconsin's NEW State Archive Preservation Facility (SAPF)
EnlargeWisconsin State Archivist

Matt Blessing, Wisconsin State Archivist

Presented by Matt Blessing, State Archivist and Administrator for the Division of Library, Archives and Collections, Wisconsin Historical Society

Located on the east side of Madison, the State Archives Preservation Facility is a state-of-the-art preservation facility, designed for the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, UW-Madison’s Center for Film and Theater Research, and the cultural heritage assets of the State Capitol and Executive Residence. The $47 million facility opened in early 2018. The Wisconsin Historical Society is mid-way through moving its collections into the new facility.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

October 10, 2018 - Book Conservation at the Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeBook Conservation

Book Conservation

Presented by Chris Brown, Book Conservator, Conservation Lab, Wisconsin Historical Society

After several years of work and many treatments, one thing is sure: there is no universal treatment for the conservation of a book. That being said, there are important elements that need to be followed. We'll take a look at the direction of conservation over the years and some of the ways Chris has applied his own experience to the treatment of books here at the Wisconsin Historical Society. There will be lots of time to discuss your questions about book conservation.

Chris has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UW-Madison. His book career began with Walter Hamady, followed by an internship at the Basler Paper Mill and Museum in Basel, Switzerland. He learned leather binding in the James Courier Bindery, Newport, where he opened his first bindery in 1994. For the past three years, Chris has been at the Wisconsin Historical Society on a grant from the Caxambus Foundation.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

October 17, 2018 - Clues in the Dress: Dating Photographs from Clothing
EnlargeCurator of Social History

Leslie Bellais, Curator of Social History

Presented by Leslie Bellais, Curator of Social History, Wisconsin Historical Society

Are you a genealogist with unidentified photographs of your ancestors? Leslie Bellais, Curator of Social Life, Wisconsin Historical Museum, will provide you with ways to date those photographs, and possibly figure out which ancestor is being portrayed, by illustrating ways to date the clothing in the images. She will cover men’s clothing as portrayed in photographs from the 1840s to the first decade of the 20th century and women’s clothing through the 1930s.

Leslie grew up in Maryland and went to college in Virginia, graduating with a B.A. in historic preservation from Mary Washington University and an M.A. in pre-1815 US history from the College of William & Mary. She also studied museum management at Colonial Williamsburg. After a four-year stint as a curator at the Hershey Museum in Pennsylvania, Leslie began working at the Wisconsin Historical Society as their Curator of Costume of Textiles (later retitled the Curator of Social History). She has been at WHS for over 28 years and continues to enjoy exploring Wisconsin history, especially through its historic material culture. Several years ago Leslie went back to school at the University of Wisconsin. In 2009 she finished her M.A. in US history and material culture. Leslie is currently working on her dissertation, “’Traitor State!’ A Crisis of Loyalty in World War I Wisconsin,” and plans to graduate with a Ph.D. in 2019.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

October 31, 2018 - Dealing with Digital Data
EnlargePaul Hedges, Digital Collections Coordinator, Wisconsin Historical Society

Paul Hedges, Digital Collections Coordinator, Wisconsin Historical Society

Presented by Paul Hedges, Digital Collections Coordinator, Wisconsin Historical Society

Do you have digital collections in your historical organization and you are looking for strategies on how to deal with them? You are not alone. Historical organizations of all types and sizes struggle with digital records on a daily basis. Digital records bring unique challenges and require new approaches to ensure that they are preserved and accessible in the future. This webinar will provide an introduction on how to deal with digital records in your institution and present strategies on how to manage and preserve the wide variety of digital file formats in use today. Time will also be available to address specific questions from participants.

Paul Hedges currently serves as the Digital Collections Coordinator at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Paul has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Master’s Degree in Archival Administration from UW-Madison. He has worked with digital collections and information technology for more than 20 years, specifically in the areas of digital government records and audio-visual materials, web development, and digital collections management.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

In Honor of the Centennial of the End of World War I

November 7, 2018 - Researching Your Community's World War I History
EnlargeDr. Rick Pifer, Retired Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society

Dr. Rick Pifer, Retired Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society

Presented by Dr. Rick Pifer, Retired Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society

World War I was a "total" war that touched everyone down to the smallest community. The entire society mobilized to win the war. After briefly outlining the history of Wisconsin during the war, this webinar highlights records that document community history during the war and how to find them.

Dr. Richard L. Pifer is an expert not only on Wisconsin history, but on the sources that document that history. He began studying the history of Wisconsin during World War I in 1974. He has spent almost 45 years researching and teaching Wisconsin history and helping researchers find and interpret historical records. Dr. Pifer's work has focused primarily on local communities during the war. He was director of the UW-Eau Claire Area Research Center for ten years and then worked for 25 years as an archivist and librarian for the Wisconsin Historical Society. Dr. Pifer's recent book, The Great War Comes to Wisconsin, has been praised for its contribution to Wisconsin history. He is also the author of A City at War: Milwaukee Labor During World War II.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

November 14, 2018 - Wisconsin 101
EnlargePhotograph of Tom Broman

Tom Broman, Co-Director, Wisconsin 101

Presented by Tom Broman, Emeritus Professor, History of Science, UW-Madison

Does your local historical museum or society have objects that could be used to tell an interesting story about your locality? If so, Wisconsin 101, the web-based project that uses objects to tell local histories on a statewide basis, is looking for new contributions and wants you to write about it!

During its more than four years in operation, Wisconsin 101 has posted nearly forty objects and related storied from all around the state, and our authors have ranged from college undergraduates to professional curators to volunteers and docents at local from museums and historical societies. Many of the objects posted on Wisconsin 101 have also been featured on WPR's "Wisconsin Life" program. This webinar will be of particular interest to curators who are thinking about reorganizing their exhibits, as well as anyone who wants to look at material culture in new and interesting ways.

Join Wisconsin 101 Co-Director Tom Broman as he takes you through the steps of writing for Wisconsin 101. He will discuss what makes an object suitable for telling local history, how to research and write two or three stories around the object.

Watch the recording by clicking here.

December 5, 2018 - Shadowed Ground: America's Landscape of Violence and Tragedy
EnlargeHead, Geogrpahy Department, University of Connecticut

Professor Ken Foote, Head, Geography Department, University of Connecticut

Presented by Professor Ken Foote, Head, Geography Department University of Connecticut

Shadowed Ground explores how and why Americans have memorialized—or not—the sites of tragic and violent events spanning three centuries of history and every region of the country. For this revised edition, Kenneth Foote has written a new concluding chapter that looks at the evolving responses to recent acts of violence and terror, including the destruction of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine High School massacre, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Ken has served as Vice President and then President of the Association of American Geographers and as resident of the National Council of Geographic Education. While he researches a broad range of issues, he is most well known for his book "Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy," studying the memorialization of space and the deep personal connections that people have to sites of tragedy. Ken has also written several books on mentoring and other facets of early career faculty development, including "Teaching Geographic Information Science and Technology in Higher Education" and "Re-reading Cultural Geography."

Register for this FREE webinar by clicking here.

December 12, 2018 - Celebrating Latino Identity in Northeast Wisconsin through Public Exhibition and Museum Programming
EnlargeDeputy Director, Neville Public Museum

Kevin Cullen, Deputy Director, Neville Public Museum

Presented by Kevin Cullen, Deputy Director, Neville Public Museum of Brown County

"Estamos Aquí: Celebrating Latino Identity in Northeast Wisconsin" was recently awarded the 2018 CuratorsChoice Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society. The exhibit celebrated the personal stories and diverse traditions of local Latino residents that have endured emigration from across Latin America.  This 3,200 sq. ft. bilingual exhibit was the culmination of over two-years of planning with collegiate, community, and museum stakeholders. This webinar will discuss the planning process, content gathering methodologies, exhibit components, installation plan, and associated programming, as well as visitor observations and feedback.

Kevin has been involved in Wisconsin's museum profession for more than a decade. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees (Anthropology and Languages & Cultures of Asia) from UW-Madison (2002) and Master of Science degrees (Anthropology and Museum Studies) from UW-Milwaukee (2008). Following six years as an Archaeology Associate at Discovery World in Milwaukee, he joined the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay as their curator in 2013. In 2015, Kevin became the museum's Deputy Director where he now manages their temporary exhibits (both traveling and internally created), as well as developing public programs and outreach. Over the past five years at the Neville, Kevin has curated more than twenty exhibitions ranging in size from 100 sq. ft. to over 3,000 sq. ft. In 2017, he was the lead curator of the exhibit "Estamos Aquí: Celebrating Latino Identity in Northeast Wisconsin," which was recently recognized for a National Merit Award by the American Association of State and Local History, as well as a Curators Choice Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Register for this FREE webinar by clicking here.

EnlargeMt Horeb Area HS watching Local History Webinar Object Numbering

Mt Horeb Area HS watching Local History Webinar Object Numbering

Volunteers Lee Underwood, Donna Read and Aimee Arrigoni, who help maintain the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society's 25,000 piece (and growing) collection, take part in a recent Wisconsin Historical Society Field Services local history webinar on object labeling.

To see other past local history webinars, click here.

Learn More

Have Questions?

Contact Richard Bernstein, Local History-Field Services, Office of Programs and Outreach, Wisconsin Historical Society

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