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About the Area Research Center Network

The Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin System cooperate in a network of Area Research Centers located at the campus libraries throughout the state and at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. Most materials held by the Archives may be borrowed by the Centers for use by researchers there. In addition, records particular to the local area are housed permanently at each Center and also circulate within the network.

For network purposes, the state is divided into fourteen regions. Thirteen of the regions are served by an Area Research Center, and one is served by the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. Each region consists of one or more counties (see County List). Records created by county offices and other local government units for the region are housed at the Area Research Center, as are non-governmental manuscript collections of regional interest.

Historical records gathered through the network generally are organized and cataloged by archivists at the Society. The materials then are returned to the appropriate Area Research Center. Most Centers also hold archival records from their campuses and additional special collection holdings not owned by the Society.

Archivists at each Center answer written and telephone reference requests and help the public use the network's resources. Archival collections usually located at the Wisconsin Historical Society or at one of the Centers may be transferred temporarily within the network to accommodate local historians, genealogists, students, and other scholars throughout Wisconsin. Before their initial visit, researchers are advised to write or call the appropriate repository since some collections may be on loan and hours may vary.

If you are not sure which county a particular ARC covers, check the County List.

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