Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

How to Apply for a Wisconsin Historical Marker

How to Apply for a Historical Marker | Wisconsin Historical Society

Do you have a significant piece of history in your community that you would like to commemorate with a historical marker?

Anyone can apply for a Wisconsin Historical Marker by submitting a completed application form. Individuals, public agencies and private organizations are encouraged to nominate historic properties, persons and events for Wisconsin State Historical Markers.

To apply for a marker, follow these steps:

1. Download the Application Form

To apply for a historical marker, download the Wisconsin State Historical Marker Application Form (PDF, 243 KB). The applicant must be able to pay for the cost of the marker, agree to maintain it and have the permission of the landowner where the marker is to be erected.

2. Make Sure Your Marker Topic and Site Location Meet Established Criteria

The Society will consider the approval of marker applications for state and local sites only if the subject meets any one of several established Historical Marker and Location Criteria.

3. Choose the Type of Marker You Want for the Site

There are three types of official State of Wisconsin markers: Small City Marker (16" h x 24" w), Large City Marker (36" h x 24" w), and Two-Post Marker (72" h x 54" w). All are made of cast aluminum and have raised cream-colored letters on a tobacco brown background. See the Historical Markers Price List on page 4 of the application form for information on sizing, character-count limits and pricing. Review your options and decide which will best suit your purposes and budget. You will need to indicate your choice on the application form. Because of limited staff and backlog of pending applications, allow a minimum of four to six months for staff review and 12 weeks for production.

For only a few hundred dollars more, you can include a photograph, map or graphic on your Wisconsin State Historical Marker. Adding an image to your marker can greatly increase its visual interest. Including an image will reduce the total amount of text you can have on your final marker, but that trade-off might be worthwhile since, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Contact Janet Seymour for sample images.

4. Develop Well-Documented, Clearly-Written Text to Be Included on the Marker

In addition to the application form, you must also submit text for the marker. Thoroughly research your subject to develop a well-documented, comprehensive narrative. The amount of text needed will depend on the space available on the marker you select. Local libraries, local historical societies and local newspapers are excellent sources for information, as are the Wisconsin Historical Society's Library and Archives. For more resources to help you write your narrative, see our guides on Researching Your Historical Marker Topic and Tips for Writing Historical Marker Inscriptions.

5. Submit the Application

Mail the completed application to Janet Seymour (address below). You will need to include the marker text and documentation.

The Society will review and approve applications that meet the requirements under Wisconsin Statute s. HS 4.06. An application will be approved or disapproved within 180 days of receipt by the Society.

Learn More

Have Questions?

Contact:

Janet Seymour
c/o University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Avenue, Hibbard 728
Eau Claire, WI 54701-4004
Phone: 715-836-2250