The Wisconsin Historical Society (still officially the State Historical Society of Wisconsin) is simultaneously a private membership and a state-funded organization whose purpose is to maintain, promote and spread knowledge relating to the history of North America, with an emphasis on the state of Wisconsin and the trans-Allegheny West. Founded in 1846 and chartered in 1853, it is the oldest historical society in the United States to receive continuous public funding. The society's headquarters are located in Madison, Wisconsin, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
In fulfilling its mission to educate the public on areas relating to Wisconsin history, the Wisconsin Historical Society coordinates many programs to preserve objects and information of historical interest while keeping them available to the public. The society's library and archives, which together serve as the library of American history for the University of Wisconsin–Madison, contain nearly four million items, making the society's collection the largest in the world dedicated exclusively to North American history.
In addition to this library, the society operates the Wisconsin Historical Museum in downtown Madison and a publishing house, the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, which publishes books on Wisconsin and American history and a quarterly magazine, the Wisconsin Magazine of History. In more recent times, the society complemented its printed materials with a website boasting numerous features that include a large, searchable collection of historical images and a vast digital archive containing thousands of scanned documents relating to Wisconsin history. Society employees are actually employees of the State of Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles Collection is a decades-long project of the Wisconsin Historical Society. It includes newspaper clippings such as obituaries, news stories, and advertisements, placed into bound volumes. In 2006, the collection was placed online in a digital form, and includes 16,000 articles and materials on Wisconsin people and communities from the late 19th and early 20th century.
In addition to all its other pursuits, the Wisconsin Historical Society owns ten historic sites that can be toured by the public. These sites are located in cities across the state.
|Circus World Museum||Baraboo, Wisconsin|
|First Capitol||Belmont, Wisconsin|
|H. H. Bennett Studio||Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin|
|Madeline Island Museum||La Pointe, Wisconsin|
|Old World Wisconsin||Eagle, Wisconsin|
|Pendarvis||Mineral Point, Wisconsin|
|Villa Louis||Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin|
|Sylvanus Wade House||Greenbush, Wisconsin|
|Reed School||Neillsville, Wisconsin|
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