Dane County Seeking Public Nominations for New Historical Marker Program

by | Jun 12, 2024 | 0 comments

Dane County announces a new historical marker program to highlight and celebrate the diverse and rich cultural landscape of Dane County. Dane County’s history of human settlement goes back at least 12,000 years, beginning with retreat of glaciers after the last ice age. Much of this history is well known, yet many stories remain invisible. The Dane County Historical Marker Program will highlight these hidden stories. 

The project began in late 2023 when the Dane County Board of Supervisors approved funding for the county’s first historical marker program. This program would be similar to those managed by the Dane County Historical Society, the City of Madison, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. However, this program seeks to highlight people, places and events underrepresented in the historic record. Dane County has a rich history of contributions from many groups including indigenous peoples, immigrant farmers, factory workers, emancipated slaves, international refugees and others who came to Dane County to start new lives and contribute to our cultural identity. 

This will be a community driven process. County staff will work with the Catholic Multicultural Center, Centro Hispano, the Hmong Institute, the Urban League, the Ho Chunk Nation and other community organizations to take nominations for potential historic markers. If you would like to host or facilitate a meeting for this project with your organization or group, please contact project staff at [email protected] . 

Individual members of the public are invited to submit nominations through an online survey. After initial nominations are made, the Dane County Heritage Preservation Commission will work with county staff, local experts, representatives of the communities, and the public to capture the stories being told, select some for designation as markers, or inclusion in an online, virtual map. 

The Dane County Department of Planning and Development and the new Dane County Heritage Preservation Commission will manage the historical marker program, with support from the UW–Madison Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture. 

If you would like to view or complete this survey, you can access it, and other information on the project, by visiting https://www.danecountyplanning.com/Underrepresented-Communities-Historical-Markers-Program.

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