After 13 years at the helm, Wisconsin Historical Society Director Ellsworth Brown will retire in March, the organization said.

Brown, who will be 75 in March, managed the society and other major historical organizations for more than 45 years.

“It is the right moment for me to leave a rewarding profession,” Brown said in a statement. “I have been asked ‘Where are you going?’ and answered, ‘I am going home ... and will remain in the Madison area.’”

Brown oversaw the Wisconsin Historical Society’s first major capital campaign, called the “Forward! Campaign,” which raised more than $77 million in public and private dollars from 2006 to 2012. The funds were used to create the State Archive Preservation Facility, which will open in November; a visitor center and museum at the Wade House in Greenbush; the renovation of the library reading room at the society’s headquarters; and increased program support.

During Brown’s tenure as director, the historical society created the Division of Education and Outreach and added the Black Point Estate and Gardens on Geneva Lake and the one-room Reed School in Clark County as historic sites.

Prior to his leadership at the society, Brown worked at historical organizations including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Chicago Historical Society and the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

A national search to fill the post is planned.

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.