Visiting the Library and Archives | Wisconsin Historical Society

Visiting the Library and Archives

The Library and Archives

The Library-Archives Division collects, preserves, and makes available both published and unpublished materials about the history of Wisconsin, the United States and Canada. The Library and Archives also serves as the North American history research center for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and provides access to collections owned by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

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Or call us at 608-264-6535

Group Tours | Genealogy Workshops

Plan Your Visit

Visit the Library

Collection strengths include United States and Canadian history and genealogy, Wisconsin history, and a newspaper collection second only to the Library of Congress.

816 State Street, 2nd Floor

See scheduled closures >

Visit the Archives

Collection strengths include Wisconsin history and the history of mass communications, social action, and organized labor. The archives is home to the Society's map and atlas collection as well as audio, film, and photographs.

816 State Street, 4th Floor

See scheduled closures >

Area Research Centers

Use the Society's courier service to have Archives materials transferred to a research center near you. Learn More

Collection Highlights


Research Tools

The Society's library and archival holdings are cataloged in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's library catalog. Find books, newspapers, maps, government publications, manuscripts, photographs, government records, audio and more.

These finding aids (registers) describe archival resources held by 19 repositories throughout Wisconsin. Find collection guides and indexes.

Family History Research Use our online tools for your genealogy research or visit us and we can help.


Explore Some of Our Genealogy Databases:

Access to these genealogy databases are available from any public computer or personal device inside the Society's Library.

  • AncestryLibrary

  • American Ancestors

  • Fold3


We are a FamilySearch Affiliate Library

About Our Collections

Learn about the collection areas of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Library-Archives.

This division collects, preserves and makes available materials about the history of Wisconsin, the United States and North America.

Government Publications

The Library has a wide array of materials published by the governments of the United States, Canada, Wisconsin and most other states in the union. Some books, agency reports, statistical abstracts and legislative journals date back to the 1790s.

More on Government Publications

Government Records

The Archives has original historical records from schools and school districts, towns, counties, state government and agencies, the governor's office and the court system. Some records date back to 1821 when Wisconsin was still part of the Michigan Territory.

More on Local Government Records

More on State Government Records

Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR)

Get access to records and moving images documenting the history of the American film industry, popular theater and television.

Learn More