What is Recollection Wisconsin?
Recollection Wisconsin is a destination for discovering state and local history materials from participating libraries, archives, museums and historical societies across Wisconsin. We bring together thumbnail images and descriptive information and link back to full digital records housed on the servers of our Content Partners.

Recollection Wisconsin also provides guidelines, training and support to contributing partner organizations in an effort to standardize and coordinate cultural heritage digitization efforts at the statewide level.

Who is Recollection Wisconsin for?
Everyone! This website is intended for students, teachers, scholars, genealogists, history buffs, and anyone else interested in discovering more about our state and its wealth of historical and cultural resources.

Is there a fee to use the site?
Recollection Wisconsin is free–there is no cost to use this website.

However, our contributing partners may assess fees for permission to publish or distribute individual digital items, or to provide high-resolution copies. To find out more about fees for use, contact the contributing organization directly. Please consult individual item descriptions for contributor contact information.

Who’s behind Recollection Wisconsin?
Recollection Wisconsin is a collaborative statewide initiative sponsored by 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 specific resources to support the program.

Funding for the program is provided by grants from the Nicholas Family Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which administers Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants distributed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as well as annual collection hosting and harvesting fees from Content Partners.

What can I find in Recollection Wisconsin?
Our search engine includes photographs, diaries, letters, maps, books, magazines, newspapers, postcards, oral histories, music, film clips, and museum artifacts from libraries, archives, museums and historical societies across the state. The search engine does not include indexes of historical information such as cemetery indexes, obituary indexes, or vital records indexes. Browse all collections to see the full range of materials you can find here.

What we make available through Recollection Wisconsin depends on what our contributing partners share online. That means some locations in the state are very well represented and others aren’t represented at all. The collection continues to grow as we work with new contributing partners, and new material is added every month.

What if I don’t find what I’m looking for?
Recollection Wisconsin brings together dozens of digital collections from around the state, but not all Wisconsin history materials available online can be discovered through our search engine. Moreover, not everything you may need for your research is available online–there are still vast amounts of non-digital materials housed in libraries, archives, museums and historical societies across the state. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, we have a few suggestions:

  • Try a Guided Search to narrow your search parameters and get more precise results
  •  Contact your local library, archive, museum or historical society to find out more about their holdings
  •  Contact us to suggest a resource you’d like to see online

Do I need permission to use, reproduce, or publish images or other content I find through Recollection Wisconsin?
The digital content brought together by Recollection Wisconsin and reproduced on this website may be used for non-profit research or teaching purposes or other Fair Use as defined by Section 107, U.S. copyright law.

If you want to copy, adapt, publish (including blogs or other publication for the web) or otherwise distribute any of this third-party content, it is your responsibility to determine copyright status and obtain permissions for use from the copyright holder. For information about the copyright status of a particular item, to obtain permission to publish or distribute an item, or to request a high-resolution copy of a digital file, contact the contributing organization directly. Please consult individual item descriptions for contributor contact information. See our Terms of Use for more details.

Can I link to recollectionwisconsin.org from my own website?
Yes, please help us spread the word! You can download our logo in several sizes here.

I found a record with incorrect information, or I have more information about a specific item. What should I do?
Recollection Wisconsin does not guarantee the accuracy, authority, or completeness of any information provided here. Responsibility for accurate data rests with the organization contributing the digital content. We welcome corrections or additional information! To suggest a correction or share further information, contact us or get in touch with the contributing partner organization directly.

Can I add my own collection to Recollection Wisconsin?
All libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and other cultural heritage institutions that hold materials related to Wisconsin history and culture are invited to become contributing partners of Recollection Wisconsin by building digital collections and sharing digital content. To find out more about how your organization can participate, see Share a Collection.

At this time, Recollection Wisconsin only brings together digital collections contributed by collecting institutions, not private individuals. If you have a personal collection of materials you want to share, we encourage you to connect with your local library or historical society to discuss options for providing access to your content.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
You’re in luck! Share your email address here and get collection highlights and program news delivered to your inbox. You can also read our newsletter archives.

I don’t see my question on this list. How can I find out more information?
For assistance, please contact Recollection Wisconsin Program Manager Emily Pfotenhauer.