How to Apply for a Historical Marker | Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

How to Apply for a Historical Marker

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 Historical Markers.

Here are the steps.

1. Download the Application Form

To apply for a historical marker, download the Wisconsin Historical Marker Application Form (PDF, 238 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), 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 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 months for staff review and four to six weeks for production.

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 the field services representative for the region in which the historic site will reside. 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.

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