Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Local History - Historic Preservation Conference

2018 Annual Conference

Historic Preservation - Local History Annual Conference | Wisconsin Historical Society

Twelfth Annual Local History and Historic Preservation Conference

Register now for the 2018 conference at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake on October 26-27. You can join over 400 colleagues to exchange ideas, celebrate successes, and plan for the future of local history and historic preservation in Wisconsin. 

Conference Registration

Sold Out Tours!

The Road America Behind the Scenes Tour and the Hearthside Dinner at Wade House are both sold out! The Black Dog Bistro meet-up and the Sheboygan Valley Land and Lime Company tour have also reached capacity. Please check out our other tours and events for additional conference activities.

Regional Museums and Sites Open House

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

JONATHAN CLARK HOUSE: Thursday and Saturday 12:00 PM–3:00 PM. Admission by donation. (45 miles south)

KIEL AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Saturday 10:00 AM–4:30 PM. Admission by donation. (6 miles north)

NEW HOLSTEIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Friday–Saturday 1:00 PM–4:00 PM. Admission $10. (10 miles north)

PLYMOUTH HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Thursday–Saturday 10:00 AM–2:00 PM. Free admission. (7 miles south)

RANDOM LAKE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Thursday–Saturday 9:00 AM–1:00 PM. Admission $2. (23 miles south)

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM: Thursday–Saturday 10:00 AM–3:00 PM. Adults $8; Seniors and Military $6. (18 miles east)

Hotel Reservations

The Osthoff Resort and Conference Center in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Osthoff Resort and Conference Center

The Osthoff Resort and Conference Center in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Due to high demand, all rooms at The Osthoff Resort have been reserved. There are several hotels in Elkhart Lake and nearby Plymouth that may have availability.

Elkhart Lake Hotel Options:
Plymouth Hotel Options (Six miles from Elkhart Lake):

Keynote Speakers

Christian Øverland

Director Christian Overland

Director Christian Øverland


Christian W. Øverland, the new Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, will present Friday's keynote address. Conference attendees are also invited to a special welcome reception for Christian on Friday afternoon. 

Øverland joined the Wisconsin Historical Society in February 2018. Since 1992, he held a variety of administrative roles at The Henry Ford, an internationally recognized history destination in Dearborn, Michigan. As the institution's executive vice president from 2010-2018, he was responsible for leading and managing strategic planning, historical research, the maintenance and growth of its collections and visitor experiences. Øverland also oversaw education programs, experience design, museum operations and national positioning.

Prior to his extensive work in Michigan, Øverland, a Minnesota native, worked for the Minnesota Historical Society and was a volunteer gallery lecturer at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He earned his undergraduate degree in American Studies and Art History at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and his master's degree at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York in American history and Museum Studies.

Bernice Radle

Bernice Radle


Bernice Radle

Bernice Radle owns and operates Buffalove Development, a full service real estate company focused on reviving vacant or underutilized places and spaces in Buffalo, New York. Bernice's historic renovation work has been featured on HGTV and DIY network as part of American Rehab Buffalo and also in several publications including the New York Times, Huffington Post, Preservation Magazine, TedX and more. Bernice is currently working on several preservation projects including bringing the first brewery to Niagara Falls, New York in 75 years. Bernice is a leader in the Buffalo's Young Preservationists, a founding member of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists and is the creator of the historic preservation "heart bomb" or love letters placed on beloved historic buildings. In 2014, she was awarded the Peter H. Brink Award for individual achievement by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

New in 2018 - Student Scholarships

The Wisconsin Historical Society, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Council for Local History, has allocated up to $3,000 in scholarship aid to supporting continuing public history education for undergraduate and graduate students. The Society will award a limited number of scholarships, assisting individuals to attend the conference. Recipients can receive funding assistance of up to $300 for conference registration fees and lodging.

Have Questions?

Contact us at lhhpconference@wisconsinhistory.org.

Learn More



October 25 - 26, 2019 at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva

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