Among the many translations for the Algonquin word from which the city of Milwaukee derives its name, one of the most common is "Gathering Place." The name is an appropriate one. From the original communities of Wisconsin's First Nations, to the German neighborhoods of old Milwaukee, to today's suburban enclaves, Milwaukee has been a place where people from across the globe have gathered for more than two centuries.

Milwaukee’s places of worship have been central to this history of community. As sites where people regularly gather for worship and fellowship, the city's churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have helped make the city what it is today. They have been a locus of congregation; places where people come together to solve problems and shape the world around them. But they have also been sites of conflict, spaces where Milwaukee’s tensions and challenge come into to full view.

Gathering Places is a living archive of Milwaukee’s places of worship; an ongoing project that seeks to document the diversity of the city’s religious landscape. Here you will find histories of the city's congregations alongside photographs, archival documents, and audio recordings of Milwaukee's religious life. All of this material is placed atop a dynamic map of the city, which allows you to watch the growth and movement of Milwaukee’s congregations by scrolling through the timeline.

Gathering Places was developed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Public History Program, which is housed in the Department of History. The research and writing on the site comes from students in HIST715: Local History Research Methods. All locations are approximate.


Christopher D. Cantwell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public and Digital History; Affiliate Faculty of the Religious Studies Program.

2019 Contributing Curators:
Brennan Christianson; Samantha Dickson; Amy Fels; Sarah Finn; Krisenda Henderson; Rachel Lange; Nick Lee; Roman Lulloff; Greg Lutz; Taytum Markee; Nick Olson; Becca Schnabel; Jarrod Showalter; Erica Shrader; Claire Svehla; Matt Torres.

2018 Contributing Curators:
Catherine Abbott; Ken Bartelt; Jonathan Bohrer; Mary Burkey; Taylor Dews; Tony Gentine; Kyle Govan; Shane Haensgen; Jordy Heller; Megan Kautz; Martin Kozon; Dan McCullom; Cody Schreck; Anna Vodenlich; Mallory Zink.

Web Support:
Ann Hanlon, Head of Digital Initiatives and Initiatives; Digital Humanities Lab Liaison, UWM Libraries
Jie Chen, Digital Collections Application Specialist, UWM Libraries

Web Designer:
Brodie Austin

The code for this customized theme can be found on the Gathering Places GitHub page.


Gathering Places is proudly powered by Omeka, and uses the Neatline plug-in.

Funding for Gathering Places comes from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and the project is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Golda Meir Library.

A special thanks is also due to the American Religious Sounds Project for their support. Gathering Places is a pilot site partner of the ARSP, and the recordings you can find here also go into the ARSP's growing archives of religious sounds. As part of our partnership, the ARSP generously provided Gathering Places with equipment for gathering Milwaukee's religious sounds.