Recollection Wisconsin is a space to discover digital historical and cultural resources from libraries, archives, museums and historical societies across Wisconsin. We bring together descriptive information (metadata) about digital resources and link back to full digital records from our Content Partners. We also provide guidelines, training and consulting to help build a statewide community of practice around cultural heritage digitization.

As Wisconsin’s Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Recollection Wisconsin aggregates metadata from our Content Partners and provides it to DPLA through a single source. For more information about Recollection Wisconsin’s partnership with DPLA, visit recollectionwisconsin.org/dpla.


Recollection Wisconsin is a collaborative initiative of Marquette University, Milwaukee Public Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WiLS, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Historical Society. These Governing Partners each make ongoing in-kind commitments of staff time, expertise, technology infrastructure or other resources to support the program.


Recollection Wisconsin is supported by service fees and generous in-kind contributions of time and expertise from our partners. Additional funding for Recollection Wisconsin is provided by grants from the following foundations and government agencies:

  • Nicholas Family Foundation (2009-2017)
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (2015-2016)
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which administers Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds distributed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) (2016-2017)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Foundations grant (2016-2017)

Program history

The Recollection Wisconsin program was first developed in 2005 as a collaborative effort of Wisconsin academic libraries, public libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. From 2005-2012, the program was known as Wisconsin Heritage Online (WHO).

The founding mission of Wisconsin Heritage Online was “to inspire education and discovery by making Wisconsin’s cultural heritage available to the public via the World Wide Web.” Initial goals of the program were to:

  • Expand access to content digitized by Wisconsin’s cultural heritage institutions.
  • Encourage and facilitate digitization through availability of support, training, and hosting services.
  • Maintain the infrastructure to support digital collaboration.
  • Provide for content to be accessible from one place.
  • Assure that content is adequately indexed.
  • Develop and maintain shared standards for metadata.

Our name

Recollection means the act or power of recollecting, or recalling to mind. Re-collection means the act of collecting, gathering, or assembling again. The name Recollection Wisconsin captures what we do: create opportunities for people to discover personal connections to the past by bringing together digital collections from across the state. Read more about the story behind our name and why we transitioned from Wisconsin Heritage Online to Recollection Wisconsin.

Our logo

Like our name, our logo reflects what we do – our program “re-collects” a wide variety of historical resources from collections around the state into a single (virtual) access point. Rounded up in one place, these diverse materials can lead to new ways of exploring, experiencing, and understanding Wisconsin’s past. Find out more about the images used in our logo.

Colophon and site credits

Design of site by StudioSaal Corporation and Non-Affiliated. Built using Insomnia, a customizable WordPress theme. The site uses Josefin Slab Light for titles, Open Sans for headings and PT Serif for the body copy. Site identity created by StudioSaal Corporation.


Emily Pfotenhauer
Recollection Wisconsin Program Manager
Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS)
1360 Regent Street #121
Madison, WI 53715-1255
emily at wils.org