Historic image: Manufacturing of Ring Gears, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 1979. WHI 50787.

Resource Description

About Visual Materials in Our Collections

The Society's Archives has more than 3 million images across 6,000 collections. The majority of visual materials focus on Wisconsin, the Midwest, the United States and Canada.


Search Visual Materials in Our Collections

More than 75,000 photos, drawings, paintings and other materials are available for viewing online.

Featured Subjects

Farmall M Tractor and Disc Harrow, 1949 WHI 8726.


Images feature rural life, including farms, machinery, growing and harvesting crops such as cranberries, tobacco and honey.

Bird's-Eye View of Madison, 1908. Madison, Wisconsin. WHI 3160.

Cities and Towns

Galleries depict street views, prominent buildings, and postcards of cities and towns in Wisconsin and beyond.

Woman with Wringer washtub, 1920. Woman doing laundry. WHI 3846

Domestic Life

Galleries focus on late 19th and early 20th century home interiors, domestic work and crafts, friends and families, dining, home-improvement, child rearing, gardening, and relaxing.

Day at the Beach, 1969. WHI 25684.


Galleries highlight a large variety of leisure-time activities, vacation resorts, tourist attractions, hunting, fishing, boating and more.

Hiawatha Brochure, 1935. Hiawatha speedliner train, the first streamlined steam locomotive that traveled up to 100 miles per hour. WHI 24725.


Galleries reflect the evolution of transportation, from steamships and bicycles to automobiles, trains, and aircraft.

Dipping the Curd, 1914. Workers making cheese curds. Brodhead, Wisconsin. WHI 1934.


Galleries document workers, companies, development of Wisconsin industries such as fur trading, mining, timber operations, service industries, farming, brewing and more.


A portrait of the Caroline Webb family in Madison, 1910. WHI 86936.

Finding Visual Materials in the Archives

  • ArCat (Archives Catalog)
    Use this resource to see what photographs or other visual materials may be listed within a collection.
  • Finding Aids for Society Collections
    Archival holdings often include a variety of visual materials such as film, photographs or audio recordings. Search finding aids to locate detailed information about a collection's contents.

Have Questions?

Looking for a photo but you don't know where to start? Want to order an image? Email our reference staff and we'll help to point you in the right direction.