University of Wisconsin–Madison

3. Propose an Object History

Now that you have a better understanding of object histories, and are maybe even ready to select an object of your own, it’s time to propose a submission for the Wisconsin 101 collection.

Your proposal must include:

  1. An object description.
  2. At least two ideas for possible related stories. (If you’re a high school student, then your proposal only needs to include one idea for a related story.)
  3. An object photograph.

Click here to see an example of the very strong proposal we received for the Vulcan Bowling Pin.

1. Object Description

Your object description should be no more than 100-200 words and must address the following:

  • The object’s appearance
  • Who owns it (if not you, then have you asked permission to include it in Wisconsin 101?)
  • The period the object is from
  • Where the object is from (and who might have created it)
  • What the object was used for (and who might have used it)
  • The object’s connection to Wisconsin
  • Briefly, anything else that’s unique about the object or that might be of interest
2. Related Stories

Each idea for a related story should be no more than 100 words. Your stories might be about how the object was used or made, about the people who made or used it, or about how it influenced some key event in Wisconsin history. Please refer back to the “object histories” section for guidance, or feel free to email us with questions. Ideally, your stories will connect the particular, specific details of your object with the broader history of our state.

For each related story, please list at least three relevant primary or secondary sources. Although historians often emphasize the importance of primary sources, don’t forget that secondary sources offer valuable insight and context for making your story appeal to readers from across Wisconsin.

3. Object Photograph

Your object photograph should be in jpeg format and of a sufficient quality that we can clearly see what the object is. If you have professional, high-quality photographs available at this time, that’s great. But if not, no need to worry about that just yet.


If you need some inspiration as you write up your own proposal, click here to see a great example that we received for the Vulcan Bowling Pin, now published on the site.

Email your proposal, along with your full name, email address, affiliation (if applicable), and phone number, to:

Our editorial board will then review your proposal to see whether it’s the right fit for Wisconsin 101. After 2-4 weeks, one of our staff will reply asking you to either continue with your object history, or consider an alternative approach. You will also receive some guidance from our editorial board about ways to make your final submission as strong as possible.



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