Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Local History - Historic Preservation Conference

2019 Annual Conference

Historic Preservation - Local History Annual Conference | Wisconsin Historical Society

Thirteenth Annual Local History and Historic Preservation Conference

Registration is open for the 2019 conference at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva on October 25-26, 2019! You can expect one full day and one half day of sessions, workshops, events, tours, and ample opportunity to make new connections and catch up with your local history and preservation partners from across the state.   

Information for Conference Participants


Conference Registration


Tours and Special Events!

  • Halloween Legends and Lore at Old World Wisconsin:  Purchase tickets online from Old World Wisconsin for this unique Friday night experience! Troves of supernatural tales brought to Wisconsin over the generations come to life as you explore the Crossroads Village after dark at this always spooky, sometimes scary, family-friendly Halloween event. Old World Wisconsin is just 35 minutes away from the conference center.
  • Wisconsin Journey Tours: SOLD OUT! The Thursday and Saturday Wisconsin Journey tours are now sold out. However, you can still purchase tickets for Old World Wisconsin's after hour experience Halloween Legends and Lore!
  • Mini-Grant Fundraising Reception: Enjoy a pre-conference party for a cause! Tickets are $25 for this appetizer and cash bar fundraiser with proceeds supporting the Wisconsin Council for Local History's mini-grant program. 
  • Lake Geneva Walking Tours: Our Friday evening tours are now sold out! We still have a limited number of tickets available for Saturday afternoon. This tour will take you through the colorful past of Lake Geneva and see buildings designed by some of America's most famous architects including Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Le Baron Jenny.
  • Student and Young Professional Meet-up: Students and emerging professionals under 35 are invited to meet up on Friday night at the Maxwell Mansion where you can explore this 1856 mansion and try a drink from the Apothecary Bar or the Speakeasy.

Regional Museums and Sites Open House

There are also museums and sites in the region that you can visit on your way to or from the conference!

GENEVA LAKE MUSEUM: 255 Mill Street, Lake Geneva. Open Thursday - Saturday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Adults $9, Seniors, $8.

Keynote Speakers

John Gurda

John Gurda

John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of twenty-one books, including histories of Milwaukee-area neighborhoods, churches, and industries. He is also a photographer, lecturer, and local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gurda is an eight-time winner of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Award of Merit. The common thread in all his work is understanding history as "why things are the way they are."

Gurda wrote, co-produced, and hosted Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, a one-hour documentary broadcast on Milwaukee Public Television in 2015 as well as a companion book available from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Caitlin Zant

Caitlin Zant

Caitlin Zant joined the Wisconsin Historical Society as a maritime archaeologist over five years ago after attending the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, for graduate school. In her six years of working as a maritime archaeologist, Caitlin has been involved with over 35 archaeological projects and has assisted in nominating 20 shipwrecks to the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Caitlin has primarily focused her studies on the maritime history of the Great Lakes, specifically within Wisconsin. Prior to becoming a maritime archaeologist, Caitlin studied History and Geography at Carthage, graduating in 2012.



Have Questions?

Contact us at lhhpconference@wisconsinhistory.org.

Learn More


October 30 - 31, 2020 at the Central Wisconsin Convention Center in Rothschild

October 22 - 23, 2021 at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley in Appleton