Started in 1982, the purpose of the Institute is to preserve and present the story of God’s grace…

WELS 175th Anniversary- logo - Christ through us

Salem Landmark Church & Museum

The WHI works to restore and preserve 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 many artifacts and pictures from our synod’s past. Church and school groups of all ages are welcome to visit. The church and museum are open for tours, which need to be arranged in advance.

WELS Historical Institute Journal & Newsletter

Since 1983 the Institute has published the WELS Historical Institute Journal and the Historical Institute Newsletter. Two issues of each appear every year for members. The Journal is designed to appeal to pastor, teacher, and layperson alike. It includes heavily researched articles interspersed with personal reminiscences, diaries, and translations of old letters and documents from leaders and laypeople—men and women of faith who have a story to tell. The Newsletter shares information about upcoming events, meetings, and matters of special interest to members of the Institute.

WELS Archives

WELS Archives & CMM Visitor Center

The WELS Archives preserves WELS past for future generations.

A sister entity to the Institute is the WELS Archives. In 2016, the Wisconsin Synod hired its first official synod archivist and began moving the synod archives from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, to a purpose-built archival space, designed to preserve and organize historical WELS documents, books, and artifacts at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Are you conducting research? The WELS Archivist may be able to help!

In conjunction with the archives, a visitor’s center was built to help show the history and mission of WELS. The visitor center is open for tours during weekdays.


WELS Presidents

Seminary seal
1865-1867 WELS President Wilhelm Streissguth

1865-1867 President Wilhelm Streissguth

President Wilhelm Streissguth Wilhelm (William) Streissguth was born at Lahr, grand duchy of Baden, on April 10, 1827. He pursued ... Read More
1908-1933 WELS President Gustav E. Bergemann

1908-1933 President Gustav E. Bergemann

Gustave Ernst Bergemann was born August 9, 1862, to Ludwig Bergemann and Wilhemine nee Schulz of Hustisford, Wisconsin. After being ... Read More
1953-1979 WELS President Oscar J. Naumann

1953-1979 President Oscar J. Naumann

President Oscar J. Naumann On June 24, 1909, Oscar J. Naumann was born in Wood Lake, Minnesota to Rev. Justus ... Read More