Local History Webinars | Wisconsin Historical Society

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Local History Webinars

Online Learning for Local History and Community Organizations

Local History Webinars | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society's Local History Outreach office offers local history webinars throughout the year. All local history webinars are free and open to anyone interested in local history and the skills needed to collect, preserve and share your stories.


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    EnlargePoster for Ojibwe Storytelling Series featuring photos of four speakers on a blue background with abstract florals and eagle
    Ojibwe Storytelling Series

    In Ojibwe culture, winter is storytelling season. The Wisconsin Historical Society is celebrating by featuring Ojibwe storytellers in a four-part virtual series from Jan. 10-31, 2023.

    Learn more about this webinar series and view recordings from the 2022 season here.

    January 10, 2023: Mike Wiggins, Jr.

    Bad River Tribal Chairman and Renowned Storyteller

    Mike Wiggins Jr. is the chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Wiggins is also a major advocate for the conservation of natural resources. Before becoming the chairman of the Bad River Band, Wiggins served as a conservation warden for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Today, he is a vocal leader in the protection of the Penokee Hills and in maintaining safe groundwater. In 2019, Wiggins was named an Outstanding Alumni of UW-Superior. Wiggens received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Superior in 1992.

    Register here.

    January 17, 2023: Valerie Barber

    Lac Courte Ojibwe Elder and Ojibwe Language Teacher

    Valerie Barber is a Lac Courte Ojibwe elder and Ojibwe language teacher. Barber joined the US Marine Corps and served for six years before being honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. She attended Mt. Senario College, earning a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in secondary education, and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University, earning an associate's degree in Native American Studies. She also completed a master's program in teaching and educational techology from the College of St. Scholastica. After many years of both formal and informal teaching, Barber continues to share her knowledge of Ojibwe language, storytelling, and cultural arts in her retirement.

    Register here.

    January 24, 2023: Chris McGeshick

    Former Chairman, Mole Lake Band, and Seasoned Ojibwe Cultural Practitioner

    Chris McGeshick is the former chairman of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and board chairman of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Commission. He currently works as the compliance manager for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He has been a strong advocate for cultural and Ojibwe language revitalization and protecting northern Wisconsin natural resources.

    Register here.

    January 31, 2023: Wanda McFaggen

    St. Croix Tribal Member and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

    Wanda McFaggen is the tribal historic preservation officer for the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. McFaggan established the St. Croix Tribal Historic Preservation Department in August 2000 for the protection and preservation of cultural, historical, and archaeological resources on St. Croix reservation lands. She oversees many areas of importance to the St. Croix band, including archaeological and sacred sites, burial mounds, and research into tribal members, history, and traditions. She also helps maintain tribal traditions that are in danger of being forgotten.

    Register here.


    Local Historical Societies and Local Government Records

    Recorded March 25, 2022

    Wisconsin Historical Society Local Government Records Archivist Andrew Baraniak will discuss various legal issues concerning local historical societies when it comes to holding local government records. Topics covered will include basic public records laws and open records requirements in the state, title transfer requirements under state law for government records, requirements for handling confidential information in public records, and next steps for identifying and handling local records that may be in the holdings of local historical societies.

    This webinar is recommended for Wisconsin-based local historical societies, archives, and small museums that handle local government records.

    View a recording of the presentation here.

    Modern Jungles: A Conversation about the Hmong Refugee Experience in Wisconsin

    Recorded April 29, 2021

    Join the Wisconsin Historical Society for a panel discussion exploring the themes of the new Wisconsin Historical Society Press book Modern Jungles: A Hmong Refugees Childhood Story of Survival by Pao Lor. After a difficult and perilous journey that neither of his parents survived, five-year-old Pao Lor reached the safety of Thailand, but the young refugee boy's challenges were only just beginning. Drawing from both personal experiences and contemporary scholarship, panelists will discuss the Hmong diaspora to Wisconsin and the important contributions of Hmong Wisconsinites today. 

    Panelists include Pao Lor, Professor and Chair, Professional Program in Education, UW-Green Bay; Chia Youyee Vang, Interim Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Professor of History, UW-Milwaukee, and Member, Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators; and Mai Zong Vue, Board Member, The Hmong Institute, and Children's Mental Health Program Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians

    Recorded April 21, 2021

    For too many students, teachers, and scholars of U.S. history, Native American history has been at best an add-on - a subject dealt with at the margins of other topics. This webinar brings together four dynamic scholars to talk together about the methods and questions that are challenging this marginalization and to show why you can't teach U.S. history without American Indians.

    This webinar is part of Our Shared Future, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's ongoing effort to educate the campus and the broader community on the Ho-Chunk Nation, the eleven other First Nations within the borders of Wisconsin, and the history they share with the university.

    The webinar was moderated by Stephen Kantrowitz, Plaenert-Bascom Professor of History and faculty affiliate in Afro-American Studies and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Panelists include Elizabeth Ellis, Assistant Professor of History, New York University; Doug Kiel, Assistant Professor of History, Northwestern University; Dr. Rose Miron, Director, D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Newberry Library; and Sasha Maria Suarez, Assistant Professor of History and American Indian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Sharing Women's History: Exploring New Stories and Formats for Engaging Audiences

    Recorded March 25, 2021

    Join the Wisconsin Historical Society for a free online panel discussion exploring how women's stories and experiences can be told in new ways. Museums, historic sites, and other cultural organizations can share women's history through special programs, tours, and other storytelling formats. From a broad view of new directions for interpretation at museums and historic sites to strategies for virtual engagement, panelists will share examples of innovative programming and best practices for interpreting complex stories that engage new audiences.

    Panelists include Mary van Balgooy, Vice President, Engaging Places, LLC, and Director, Society of Woman Geographers; Meredith S. Horsford, Executive Director, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum; and Brooke Steinhauser, Program Director, The Emily Dickinson Museum.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Markers, Monuments, and Meaning - A Webinar Series

    While historical organizations have long grappled with how to interpret difficult or contested histories, recent events have added an increased sense of urgency for communities considering the meaning and message of historical markers, monuments, and statues and the critical issue of representation in our built environment. Join us as we invite panels of experts on monumental art, public history, and memory to discuss the meaning of these markers, monuments, and statues in our state and national consciousness and to consider how our built environment can better represent all people.

    The panels were moderated by the Ruth and Hartley Barker Director and CEO of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Christian Øverland; professor of history and director of Marquette University's Center for Urban Research, Teaching, and Outreach, Dr. Robert Smith; and UW-Madison's Public History Project director, Kacie Lucchini Butcher.

    Learn more about this webinar series here.

    Markers, Monuments, and Meaning - A National Conversation

    Recorded July 16, 2020

    Discuss the historical context of the current controversy and to consider the meaning of these monuments in our national consciousness with panelists Dr. Karen Cox and Ken Lum.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Markers, Monuments, and Meaning - Wisconsin's Built Environment

    Recorded August 20, 2020

    Learn about the role of monumental art in Wisconsin and investigate the current controversy over historical monuments and markers with panelists Aaron Bird Bear and Kacie Lucchini Butcher.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Markers, Monuments, and Meaning - Change and Community

    Recorded October 20, 2020

    Explore how engaging diverse and inclusive perspectives creates opportunities to re-envision and democratize the process of creating, sharing, and evaluating monuments and historical markers.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Strategies for Fundraising Success during COVID-19

    Recorded August 25, 2020

    Join Wisconsin Historical Foundation staff members for a roundtable discussion of strategies for fundraising and annual giving during the COVID-19 pandemic as non-profits are navigating uncertain and challenging times. From major gifts and grants, to member support and annual giving campaigns, staff will share examples of strategies that have worked well and what pitfalls to avoid. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and share examples from their own organizations during the Q&A portion.

    Panelists include Development Director Kristin Borst, Annual Giving Manager Hannah Hankins, and Development Officer Joe Kollar, all of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    Reopening Wisconsin Museums and Historic Sites

    Recorded June 29, 2020

    Join the Wisconsin Historical Society for a moderated discussion to share ideas and resources for safely reopening historic sites and museums during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wisconsin Historical Society staff will present an overview of the reopening plan for Society sites and participants can share resources, suggestions, and recent experiences with planning to reopen to the public.

    View a recording of the webinar here.

    The Local History Outreach Office also provides links to free webinars presented by partner organizations and continues providing access to the library of recorded webinars. The most timely information on offerings for local history organizations is included in the quarterly "What's New in Local History" e-newsletter. If you don't currently receive the e-newsletter, sign up by emailing fieldservices@wisconsinhistory.org.

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