STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
AND LOCAL HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
Historical society; corporate structure. 44.01(1)(1)
The historical society shall constitute a body politic and corporate by the name of “The State Historical Society of Wisconsin," and shall possess all the powers necessary to accomplish the objects and perform the duties prescribed by law. The historical society shall be an official agency and the trustee of the state.
The historical society may adopt, and change, a seal, a constitution and bylaws, promulgate rules, and elect such officers as the constitution or bylaws prescribe. The eligibility requirements for membership in the historical society shall be determined by the constitution and bylaws. There shall continue to be a board of curators for governing the historical society with powers substantially the same as at present.
The historical society's acceptance of any benefits granted it by law shall be conclusively deemed its complete acquiescence in all laws enacted concerning the organization and operation of the society.
The historical society is a state agency. The board of curators falls within the coverage of ss. 893.82 and 895.46. 74 Atty. Gen. 54
The historical society may:
Acquire any interest in real or personal property by gift, bequest or otherwise in any amount and, subject to prior action under s. 13.48 (14) (am)
or 16.848 (1)
, may operate, manage, sell, or rent real estate acquired by gift, bequest, foreclosure or other means, upon such terms and conditions as the board of curators deems for its interests but may not sell, mortgage, transfer or dispose of in any manner or remove from its buildings, except for temporary purposes, any article therein without authority of law.
Sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of duplicate books, periodicals or museum objects, or books, periodicals and museum objects outside its field of collection.
Accept collections of private manuscripts, printed materials, tapes, films, optical discs, materials stored in electronic format, and artifacts, and it may enforce any reasonable restrictions on accessibility to the public, use, or duplication of said collections that are agreed upon by the donor and the historical society.
Take proper steps to promote the study of history by lectures, and diffuse and publish information relating to the description and history of the state.
Except as otherwise provided by law, establish fees for services or products or for admission to venues.
Contract with the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, Inc., or any other nonstock, nonprofit corporation under ch. 181
for the purposes of administering the historical society's membership program, soliciting and accepting contributions, gifts, grants, and bequests for the historical society, marketing the historical society's goods and services, providing support for the operation, management, and development of the historical society's programs, and performing other functions approved by the board of curators.
Promulgate rules necessary to implement this chapter.
See also HS
, Wis. adm. code.
Historical society; duties.
The historical society shall:
Serve as trustee of the state in the preservation and care of all records, both printed and written, and all articles and other materials of historic interest and significance placed in its custody, and interest itself constructively as the agent of the state in the preservation and care of all similar materials wherever they may be.
Collect by gift, exchange or purchase books, periodicals, pamphlets, records, tracts, manuscripts, maps, charts and other papers, artifacts, relics, paintings, photographs and other materials illustrative of the history of this state in particular and of the West generally.
Conduct research in the history of Wisconsin in particular and of the West generally.
Inculcate through publications, museum extension services and other media a wider and fuller knowledge and appreciation of the history of Wisconsin and its significance.
Keep its main library and museum rooms open at all reasonable hours on business days for the reception of the residents of this state who may wish to visit the library or museum. Except as provided under subs. (5g)
, the historical society may collect a fee from residents and shall collect a fee from nonresidents for admission to historic sites or buildings acquired, leased or operated by the historical society, including areas within state parks or on other state-owned lands which incorporate historic buildings, restorations, museums or remains and which are operated by the historical society by agreement with the department of natural resources or other departments, or for lectures, pageants or similar special events, or for admission to defray the costs of special exhibits in its several buildings of documents, objects or other materials not part of the historical society's regular collections but brought in on loan from other sources for such special exhibitions or for use of the main library. The historical society shall take action on a continuing basis to raise funds from private sources for the operation of its main library. The historical society may procure and sell or otherwise dispose of postcards, souvenirs and other appropriate merchandise to help defray the costs of operating its several plants and projects.
Not charge a fee for use of the main library by any member of the historical society, any member of the faculty or academic staff of the University of Wisconsin System, any student enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System or any other person exempted by rule of the historical society. The historical society may not charge a fee for use of the main library by any other person unless the historical society submits a fee schedule to the joint committee on finance that includes the specific fee to be charged to different categories of persons and an identification of any persons exempted by rule of the historical society. The fee schedule of the historical society shall be implemented if the committee approves the report, or does not schedule a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the report within 14 working days after receipt of the report.
Charge a fee for research services provided by the historical society to any nonresident who is not specifically exempted under par. (a)
Not charge a fee for admission to the museum until construction of the museum is completed. Fees collected from admissions shall be used to support public programming.
Except as provided in s. 16.84 (2)
, have responsibility for security at the museum.
Thoroughly catalog the entire collections of the society for the more convenient reference of all persons who have occasion to consult the collections. The society may loan to libraries, educational institutions and other organizations or to private individuals in good standing items from the collections of the society.
Bind, except when microfilmed or transferred to optical discs or electronic format, the unbound books, documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, and especially newspaper files in its possession.
Take an active interest in the preservation and use of the noncurrent public records of historical importance of counties, cities, villages, towns, school districts and other local governmental units and courts.
Conduct a research center in American history for the benefit of the students and faculty of the University of Wisconsin System as well as for members of the general public and to facilitate the further understanding by the general public of the significance of the American experiment.
Work with the auxiliaries, affiliates and chapters established under s. 44.03
in the encouragement, stimulation and development of worthwhile historical projects and undertakings at the county and local level.
Be the custodian of the official series of the portraits of the governors of Wisconsin under s. 41.53 (1) (g)
and maintain the portraits in proper condition. The society may permit any or all of the portraits to be exhibited in such state buildings for such periods of time as it deems feasible.
To faithfully expend and apply all money received to the fulfillment of its duties and purposes as directed by law.
To hold all its present and future property for the state.
To promote a wider appreciation of the American heritage with particular emphasis on the collection, advancement and dissemination of knowledge of the history of Wisconsin and of the West.
To collect, embody, arrange and preserve in authentic form, a library of books, pamphlets, maps, charts, manuscripts, papers, paintings, statuary, and other materials illustrative of the history of the state.
To preserve the memory of its early pioneers, and to obtain and preserve narratives of their exploits, perils, and adventures.
To exhibit faithfully the antiquities, and the past and present condition, and resources of Wisconsin.
Have authority to operate, maintain, acquire and develop outdoor historic sites related to the outdoor recreation program under s. 23.30
Serve as the principal historic preservation agency of the state and in that capacity carry out a program of preservation of historic properties as specified under subch. II of ch. 44
Acquire, maintain and operate historic properties representative of this state's rural and urban heritage.
Identify any archaeological site, including contiguous land necessary to protect the site, in this state that is listed in the national register of historic places in Wisconsin or the state register of historic places and that is not cataloged under s. 157.70
. Any information collected under this subsection the disclosure of which would be likely to result in the disturbance of an archaeological site is not subject to s. 19.35 (1)
Promulgate by rule procedures, standards and forms necessary to certify, and shall certify, expenditures for preservation or rehabilitation of historic property for the purposes of ss. 71.07 (9m)
, 71.28 (6)
, and 71.47 (6)
. These standards shall be substantially similar to the standards used by the secretary of the interior to certify rehabilitations under 26 USC 47
In cooperation with and upon request of the board on the U.S.S. Wisconsin, maintain a permanent exhibit at a suitable location in this state relating to the history of the 2 battleships named “Wisconsin".
With the department of administration, promulgate rules identifying historically significant materials and obtain historically significant surplus materials under s. 16.72 (5) (c)
Administer the historical markers program under s. 44.15
Annually distribute the amount appropriated under s. 20.245 (1) (b)
as a grant to the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Museum to fund the operations of that society and museum.
See also ch. HS 3
, Wis. adm. code.
Affiliated societies. 44.03(1)(1)
County or local historical societies without capital stock may be incorporated as affiliates of the historical society, to gather and preserve the books, documents and artifacts relating to the history of their region or locality. No fees shall be charged by any register of deeds for recording nor by the department of financial institutions for filing the articles of organization or its amendments, or for a certificate of incorporation of any such society, but the department of financial institutions shall not accept articles of incorporation under this section unless they are approved by the board of curators of the historical society.
Statewide, county or other patriotic or historical organizations, or chapters in this state may be incorporated as affiliates of the historical society under sub. (1)
if their purposes and programs are similar to and consonant with those of the historical society and its affiliates, or if already incorporated, the organizations or chapters may apply to the board of curators for affiliation with the historical society. Upon incorporation under this section or acceptance of affiliation by the board of curators the applying organization shall as an affiliate accept the provisions and shall be entitled to all the benefits of this section. Any affiliated society shall be a member and entitled to one vote in any general meeting of the historical society. The board of curators may terminate the affiliation as an affiliate of the historical society under this section of any such organization by formal resolution, a copy of which shall be deposited with the department of financial institutions.
Every affiliated society shall make a report of its work annually to the historical society that contains the information specified in s. 181.1622 (1) (a)
, which, in its entirety or in part, may be included in the publications of the historical society, and upon application of any affiliated society the historical society may accept, in behalf of the state, custody of or title to the property, records and collections of the affiliated society or may assist in the disposal thereof. If any affiliated society becomes, in the opinion of the board of curators of the historical society, inactive or defunct, title to such property, records and collections not otherwise provided for in the grants of donors or in the articles of incorporation of the inactive and defunct society, shall vest in the historical society which shall take appropriate action in the public interest for the protection or disposal of such property, records and collections. Preference in disposition shall be given to historical or related organizations in the area or to whatever county or local governmental unit that has aided such affiliate financially.
The historical society, for the purpose of establishing uniformity in organization and methods of work, may prepare and furnish uniform articles of organization and bylaws to any affiliated society, but the affiliate may adopt additional bylaws.
The historical society may provide for annual or other meetings of officers or representatives of affiliated societies at times and places to be fixed by its director, or by such officers or representatives, and the proceedings of such meetings, or portions its director selects, may be included in its published reports. Each affiliated society shall receive a copy of each of the publications of the state society on the same terms as those granted to life members of the state society.
Custody of public records of county, village, town, school district or other governmental units may be accepted by any affiliated society which has been designated a regional depository under s. 44.10
, but title to these records shall remain with the historical society. In the event of the dissolution or incapacity of any affiliated society, it shall be obligatory on the last group of officers and members to notify the director of the historical society that the affiliated society can no longer retain custody of these records and to deliver them to a depository designated by the historical society.
School services. 44.04(1)(1)
The historical society, as part of its program as an educational institution, shall offer to the schools and teachers in this state all of the following:
Materials as the society shall prepare or make available to facilitate instruction in the history and civil government of Wisconsin, including curricula, lesson plans, classroom projects, facsimiles of historical materials and other instructional materials for the teaching of state and local history.
Seminars for teachers, including continuing education programs, in-service training and programs at teacher conventions.
To accomplish its duties under sub. (1)
, the historical society shall do all of the following:
Prepare, publish, issue, loan or circulate such magazines, books, aids, guides and other publications, such visual aids, special exhibits, and other teaching materials and aids as it, in consultation with the department of public instruction, deems advisable.
Provide information to schools and teachers regarding the materials and services available from the historical society to assist in the teaching of history.
Promote cooperation between schools and historical organizations.
It may make such charges as its board of curators shall establish as just and proper to defray in part the costs of this program.
American history research center. 44.05(1)(1)
The historical society, in order to promote the wider understanding of the significance of the American heritage, shall encourage research in American history in general, and in the history of Wisconsin and the west particularly, through its American history research center and the other divisions of this agency, and interpret to the public the nature of the said heritage, and the role of state and local history in elucidating and facilitating the understanding of the American democracy, social, political, cultural and economic.
The society, in pursuit of these goals, may be the beneficiary of bequests in any form, may undertake research projects, make grants-in-aid to students of particular topics germane to the purposes of the center, publicize the American story or parts thereof through publications of various types, exhibits, photographic or microphotographic reproductions, radio, pageantry and such other media as may best lend themselves to its work.
Depository of public documents. 44.06(2)
The director of the historical society shall file with the department of administration, and may revise, lists of state, county, municipal, federal, or other agencies to which state documents shall be distributed in accordance with interstate or international comity, with or without exchange, as provided in s. 35.86
, in order to maintain or enlarge the reference collections of the society and the state. The department of administration shall obtain the state documents so specified from the agencies publishing them, at the expense of the agencies, and shall ship the state documents to the addressees provided by the director. The department of administration shall prepay carriage charges and shall collect the charges from the agencies publishing the state documents being shipped.
The historical society shall keep available to other state agencies and to citizens of Wisconsin and other states its public document collections under such proper and reasonable regulations as may be deemed advisable.
The historical society may loan public documents, except those of rare nature, to other state agencies for official use or on interlibrary loan to other reference libraries under such rules and regulations and for such period as may appear desirable.
The historical society shall prepare a periodic checklist of state documents and shall publish the list in such form and with such notes as to show the scope and purpose of such documents as the society considers advisable.
History: 1991 a. 285
Museum extension service. 44.07(1)(1)
The historical society, in conjunction with its museum program and in order to make its collections and the teaching values of museum materials available on a statewide basis and to stimulate more effective local museum techniques, may operate a museum extension service with or without the cooperation of other museums or its auxiliary societies.
The said society may for such purpose lend to other museums, public libraries, art galleries, colleges, schools or other responsible institutions or organizations, under such rules and safeguards and for such period as it deems desirable, such items and objects from its collections as are not irreplaceable.
The society may participate in cooperative or joint exhibits with other museums or auxiliary societies in this program, and may out of the appropriation in s. 20.245 (1)
extend financial assistance not to exceed $1,000 in the aggregate in any year to other museums or auxiliaries where and only where such aid is found necessary to enable such other museums or auxiliaries to participate in this program.
Transportation charges and other minor costs of such extension exhibits may be charged the exhibitor.
History: 1993 a. 213