An ongoing list of web resources in Wisconsin history, American material culture and other interesting things.

Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database
My big project. Hosted by the Wisconsin Historical Society, the database now features catalog entries for over 1,000 artifacts from local historical societies and museums across Wisconsin, and it continues to grow.

Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society offers a wealth of digital resources I use regularly in my research:
-the Dictionary of Wisconsin History
, with more than 8,000 entries on Wisconsin people, places, things and events
-the Wisconsin Historical Museum’s online collections, including quilts, samplers, ceramic art, paintings and moccasins from the museum’s extensive holdings
Wisconsin Historical Images, an extensive and growing catalog of the Society’s outstanding Visual Materials Collections

Wisconsin Heritage Online
The Wisconsin Heritage Online portal is a gateway to digital collections of photographs, newspapers, books, diaries and artifacts from historical societies, museums and libraries across Wisconsin, including every object documented in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.

State of Wisconsin Collection
This digital collection from the University of Wisconsin brings together primary and secondary materials dealing with the history of the state of Wisconsin and its ongoing development.

Indian Country Wisconsin
Targeted at K-12 students, this website compiled by the Milwaukee Public Museum provides a valuable introduction to the cultures and histories of Wisconsin Indian tribes.

Cyril Colnik Archive, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
A digital collection of original drawings and blueprints by Milwaukee’s famed master blacksmith.

Wisconsin Pottery Association
This organization of ceramics collectors and enthusiasts hosts monthly presentations and an annual exhibition and sale. Their website includes
histories of many of the major pottery producers in Wisconsin.

Mr. Bottles
Thousands of images of glass and stoneware bottles as well as the Wisconsin Antique Stoneware Gallery with lots of examples of 19th century utilitarian ceramics made by Wisconsin potters.

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association
This organization presents two major antiques shows each year and also offers grants and scholarship opportunities. The website includes a directory of member dealers from throughout the state.

Folk Figures: A Survey of Norwegian and Norwegian-American Artifacts
University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student Carrie Roy compiled this catalog of over 80 folk objects in Wisconsin collections, including artifacts from the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Stoughton Historical Museum and Little Norway. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin’s Arts Collection.

Wisconsin Arts Board
The Wisconsin Arts Board is a state agency offering a a wide variety of arts-related grants and educational opportunities. The WAB also hosts Wisconsin Folks, an online database of over 70 traditional and ethnic dancers, musicians, cooks and craftspeople from all over the state.

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
Affiliated with the University of Wisconsin, this organization is committed to studying and preserving the languages and cultural traditions of the diverse peoples of the Upper Midwest.

Portal Wisconsin
A comprehensive directory of cultural events and opportunities throughout the state.



Material Culture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
A interdisciplinary certificate program in material culture studies for undergraduate and graduate students (I earned a certificate along with my MA in Art History in 2006). Sponsored by the Departments of Art History, Design Studies, History, and Landscape Architecture and the Folklore Program at UW-Madison.

Chipstone Foundation
Based in Milwaukee, the Chipstone Foundation is a private foundation for the collection and study of American decorative arts. Chipstone publishes two major annual scholarly journals, American Furniture and Ceramics in America. Their outstanding collections of early American furniture and American and British ceramics are permanently on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Digital versions of temporary exhibitions sponsored by the foundation are available in the Gallery section of Chipstone’s website. Videos of Chipstone’s Object Lab and other innovative projects are available via

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture
This extensive resource, made possible by the Chipstone Foundation and maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, includes over 100 works of early American furniture and more than 270 ceramic objects and 135 prints dating from the 17th to early 19th century from Chipstone’s important holdings as well as more than 800 images of 17th and 18th century from the Longridge Collection. The site also features electronic facsimiles of major primary source texts for the study of the decorative arts, such as Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1754) and The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide, by George Hepplewhite (1788)

American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met’s website features a number of thematic essays on topics in American decorative art, including The Arts and Crafts Movement in America and American Revival Styles 1840-1876, a survey of historic influences in 19th century American furniture.

Domestic Interiors Database
A broad-ranging analytical survey of the ways in which the interior has been represented since the Renaissance in Western Europe and North America, compiled by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s  Center for the Study of the Domestic Interior.

Index of American Design, National Gallery of Art
Selections from the Index of American Design, which consists of approximately 18,000 watercolor renderings of American decorative arts objects from the colonial period through the nineteenth century. Produced between 1935 and 1942, this visual archive reflects the expanding interest in American material culture that began to emerge at that time.



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