WELS Historical Institute

The WELS Historical Institute exists to preserve and present the history of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Here you will find information about becoming a member, the institute’s activities, historic Salem Landmark Church, institute publications, and more.

About the Institute

Started in 1982, the purpose of the WELS Historical Institue is to preserve and present the story of God’s grace to WELS. Membership currently consists of 18 organizations (congregations, school libraries, etc.) and 353 individuals.

The institute publishes two issues of the WELS Historical Institute Journal and two Historical Institute newsletters each year. The Journal is designed to appeal to pastor, teacher, and layperson alike. It includes heavily researched articles interspersed with personal reminiscences and translations of old letters and documents.

The editor of both publications is Prof. John Brenner. He invites articles dealing with people and events from our synod’s past, to be considered for publication.  For for information about the Journal, including past issues in downloadable form, please visit the Journal section of the website.

Members, special gifts and bequests, as well as grants from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans support the institute. Synod members who have documents or artifacts to be preserved are invited to contact the WELS Archivist.

The purpose of the Journal is to provide a vehicle for articles of historical interest about the Lutheran Church with special reference to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.  It is also hoped that the Journal will stimulate WELS members to pursue research in Lutheran history.

The Museum

The WHI works on the restoration and preservation of Salem Lutheran Landmark Church, constructed in 1863 and located in Milwaukee near the site of our synod’s founding in 1850. The synod museum, on the lower level of the church, houses more than 1,000 artifacts and pictures from our synod’s past.
The church and museum are open for tours, which need to be arranged in advance.  For tour information and booking, visit our website to schedule your journey.

Salem Landmark Church is located at 6814 N. 107th St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Contact Us

WELS Historical Institute
N16 W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha, WI  53188