Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Historic Library Buildings That House Museums

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
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on Wednesday, June 03, 2009 in Carnegie libraries

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Any library building that is older than fifty years is considered to be historic. Some historic library buildings continue to serve as libraries usually with additions.  Others are razed so the lot they stand on can be used for a new library or for another use. Still others survive as buildings but are used for other purposes.  One of the more positive alternative purposes for these buildings is to serve as a local history museum. Historical societies realize the importance of preserving historic buildings and they make them accessible to the public. There are several of these in Wisconsin. The Carnegie library building in Darlington which is pictured on the envelope above now serves as the home of the Lafayette County Historical Society Museum. The Antigo Carnegie library building shown on the postcard below serves as the home to the Langlade Historical Society. Other historic library buildings  occupied by museums that I am aware of include those in Beaver DamRacine, WaupacaWaupun, and Wisconsin Rapids. A down side to these buildings is that they are often not fully accessible to those with disabilities.



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Comments

Andy Barnett Thursday, July 16, 2009

South Wood County Historical Museum is the former TB Scott Library.
http://www.swch-museum.com/ (with museum photo)
http://www.mcmillanlibrary.org/history/library/library4.JPG (library photo)
The library was there from the late 1940s through 1970, when it moved to its current location. The building is much older and is the former Isaac Witter home.
"That same year Mrs. Isaac Witter made known her decision to make her home in California. Her brother-in-law, Mr. George Mead (President of Consolidated Water Power and Paper Company) then bought the Witter home on Third Street and gave it to the city for the use of the library.
In April, 1948, the library vacated the old building where, for forty-five years, it had moved about from one space to another in uneasy joint occupancy with a host of others. Now, for the first time, it was to have a home of its own - the white pillared Georgian house which, with its twenty-three rooms and its lawns and gardens, had long been a city show place.
Mr. Mead's generous gift solved the library's housing problems for the next two decades."

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