Donate Online

Donate Online
The WELS Historical Institute is able to carry out its work of preserving the history of our synod because of the generosity of its members and supporters.  Please view the specific areas below and consider making a gift to support this important work.   When you're ready to make a donation, simply enter the amount of your gift in the box to the right and select the "Donate" button.  The WELS Historical Institute uses PayPal to accept online donations.   

Landmark Church Restoration

Sidewall Stenciling
Help us restore the sidewalls in the historic Landmark church building. Probing under layers of paint has uncovered a remarkable array of stenciling that was original to this 1863 building.  The front wall of the church has been restored to its original look.  Now it's time to finish the side walls.  The total cost of this project is $15,000.

The narthex of the historic Landmark Church is ready for restoration. The walls and ceiling will be remodeled to look similar to its 1863 condition.  The cost for this project is $5,000.

In 1929, the Salem congregation painted over the stenciling that was originally located on the ceiling of the historic Landmark church building.  Markings on the ceiling, as well as early writings and recollections of members, indicate the presence of a large gas chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Restoration efforts will not onlybring back the beautiful stenciling on the ceiling but a period chandelier will also be installed.  The cost for this project is $15,000.

Little School in the Woods

Our goal is to build a 1850s classroom in a current part of the museum for 4th grade students to receive a historical educational experience similar to that period in time in the mid 1800s.  Private, public, or charter schools from Milwaukee would be encouraged to bring their 4th grade students to receive a hands-on history lesson from the 1850s and learn about German immigration in Milwaukee. The program will be called, “The Little School in the Woods.” The cost for the classroom renovation, purchase of historical classroom objects, and promotional items (signage and brochures), is $27,000.

Steeple Restoration

The steeple of the historic Landmark church is planned for restoration.  The original steeple was a full-size traditional church steeple, but was reduced in size in 1929.  The 1-ton bell located in the steeple is still operating and can be heard on special events.  Restoration efforts will focus on repair of the cedar siding and decorative moldings.  In addition, the light on top of the steeple will be relit with energy-efficient LED lights.  Costs are $15,000.

Window Restoration

The beautiful stained- glass windows in the Landmark church building are in excellent condition.  However, the Plexiglas covering on the exterior has faded preventing a clear view of the glass from the outside of the building.  The protective covering will be removed and replaced with a  different material that will be resistant to fading and still protect the glass.  Cost estimate for this project is $15,000.  

General Operating Support

General operating support is always appreciated.  The WELS Historical Institute publishes and distributes a professional Journal as well as newsletters for members, hold a Fall presentation series, provides tours, and other programming.  The work is carried out entirely by a host of dedicate volunteers.  Our annual operating support is $10,000.

WELS Historical Institute Membership

There are many good reasons to join the WELS Historical Institute.  Why?  Well, one reason is that it's a good investment!  That's right!  When you join hands with fellow WELS Lutherans around the country in support of the restoration and education projects sponsored by the WELS Historical Institute, you are joining a group of dedicated people who don't spend their money foolishly.  They demand a real return on their investment.  Just look at what your annual membership can do!
  • Support the renovation and restoration of Salem Landmark Church
  • Enable cataloging of precious church records at the synodical archives.
  • Fund the restoration of old, damaged, works of art.
  • Assist in the development of a prescriptive church archives program for WELS congregations.

When you join the WELS Historical Institute, you will receive:

  • Voting membership in the Institute
  • Two issues of the WELS Historical Institute Journal and two newsletters per year.
  • Invitations to Institute events, including the annual meeting.
  • The satisfaction of knowing that your dues and donations are helping to preserve the history of your synod!

To join the institute, please download a copy of the membership application (pdf format) below.  Voting memberships for members of WELS and ELS, associate memberships for non-WELS or non-WELS members, institutional memberships, and couples' memberships are available.  After printing out and completing the membership form, please mail it along with your check (in the amount of your dues along with any additional donation you might like to make) to the address below. Checks should be payable to the WELS Historical Institute. You may also use the Donate button below to pay your membership.

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

Another way to support the work of the WELS Historical Institute is by using Thrivent Choice.  Eligible members of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are designated Choice Dollars, based on insurance premiums, contract values and Thrivent Financial volunteer leadership. Choice Dollars can be directed to thousands of nonprofit organizations nationwide, including the WELS Historical Institute. If you are eligible to direct Choice Dollars, you will receive a letter in the mail at the point you become eligible. If you are unsure of your eligibility, review the eligibility requirements.

The WELS Historical Institute, Inc. is defined as a Section 501(c )(3) tax exempt organization by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.  Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

If for any reason a project listed above cannot continue as planned — or if a project raises more than its established fundraising goal — the WELS Historical Institute will make every attempt to apply the funds to support an initiative with a similar purpose. If it is not possible to reassign resources to a similar initiative, the WELS Historical Institute will determine the most appropriate manner to use the funds raised.