Archives Reading Room Policies | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Archives Reading Room Policies

Policies for Conducting Research in the Archives Reading Room

Archives Reading Room Policies | Wisconsin Historical Society

These policies pertain to the use of the Archives Reading Room located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

  1. Researchers must register to use the Archives Reading Room. You will be asked to re-register every year.
  2. Researchers must sign the log each day when entering the Archives Research Room.
  3. All personal effects, including briefcases, backpacks, and purses, must be placed in lockers; coats may be placed in the closet. Lockers are located in the hall outside the Research Room.
  4. Only pencils may be used in the Research Room. Computers, tape recorders, and cameras (see 12) may also be used with staff permission.
  5. Food and beverages are not allowed.
  6. The use of certain materials is restricted by statute or by donors. For the protection of its collections, the Society also reserves the right to restrict the use of unprocessed, extremely valuable, or fragile materials. Materials do not circulate and are not loaned to individuals.
  7. Researchers must stop at the reference desk before leaving. All notes, photocopies, books, and other papers must be presented to the staff for inspection. By law, the Society is given the right to detain any persons suspected of attempting the unauthorized removal of any archival material. (WISCONSIN STATUTES, Chap. 943.60. Text in LAWS OF 1979, Chap. 245.) Penalties for archival theft include a fine of up to $10,000 and prison term from nine months to ten years depending on the value of the materials taken.
  8. A researcher should have only one container of archival material at his/her work station at a time and should complete work with that container before using another container.
  9. All materials must be handled carefully. They must not be leaned upon, marked, bent, or torn. Their existing arrangement must be preserved. Sheets must be turned in order and kept neatly in the folders. Please report to the staff any errors in cataloguing, dating, or filing. Gloves must be worn at all times when handling photographic materials.
  10. Scanning is self-service but staff permission must be sought before copying any bound volume, oversize sheet, or fragile item.
  11. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, use of personally identifiable information, and copyright which may be relevant to his/her use of materials.
  12. You may use our copying equipment or your own digital camera to copy documents, provided you agree to the following additional terms:
    1. The scans or photographs I make are for my personal study and research. I will not place them on the Web, publish them, or distribute them without the written permission of WHS staff.
    2. I will not scan or take pictures of photographs unless I have permission to do so.
    3. I will keep materials flat on a table, or on a stand or cradle provided by WHS staff.
    4. I will not stand on chairs, tables, or other furniture.
    5. I will turn off the flash and sound on my camera and will not use any special lighting.
    6. I understand that the WHS Archives reserves the right to deny permission to photograph or scan collection materials.

 Have Questions?

For questions related to visiting the Archives Reading Room, contact the Archives Referrence Desk by phone at 608-264-6460 or by email below: