Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Historical Essay

Development of the Railroads

Read how the development of railroads spurred settlement and aided farmers and businesses in mid-19th-century Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Drum kit used by Viroqua, Wisconsin, native Butch Vig when he played with the bands Spooner, Fire Town, and the Grammy-nominated Garbage. (Museum object)

Historical Essay

Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

1941 Model FL motorcycle manufactured by the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1941. (Museum object #2003.19.1)

Historical Essay

Gold Rush Shawl

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Chinese silk shawl purchased in California during the Gold Rush by Joseph Stroebe of Winnebago County, Wisconsin in 1855. (Museum object #1960.10)

Historical Essay

First Peoples

Learn about the Paleo-Indians who first inhabited the Wisconsin territory and the archaeological excavations that have revealed their culture.

Historical Essay

Arndt Vest

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Vest worn by Charles C.P. Arndt when he was shot on the floor of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, 1842. (Museum object #1963.300)

Learn about the LGBT rights movement in Wisconsin. This article also contains links to other articles about the history of the gay movement in WI.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

A Brief Introduction

A brief history of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. Visit the links to learn more about Menominee history, culture and community.

Have Questions?

If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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