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 Preservation Month

Posted by Larry T. Nix
Larry T. Nix
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on Sunday, May 10, 2009 in Library buildings


May is National Preservation Month and this year's them is "This Place Matters!".  The website for the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides background information on National Preservation Month for 2009.  The Wisconsin Historical Society provides the leadership for historic preservation in Wisconsin. Ironically the Wisconsin Historical Society's headquarters building has been in need of restoration for years. In my opinion this building is second only to the State Capitol in Wisconsin in its historic importance. This place definitely matters.  Fortunately, good things are about to happen to this wonderful building. The magnificent reading room on the second floor is about to undergo a full restoration, and the front entrance to the building will also be restored. The building was completed in 1900 and was designed to house both the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and the University of Wisconsin Library.  Jackson E. Town has written about the inception of the building in the Wisconsin Magazine of History in the Winter 1955-56 issue. When the American Library Association met in Waukesha in 1901, conference attendees came to Madison to visit the newly completed building and, "There was but one opinion of the entire party in regard to the beauty and arrangement of the building, and that was satisfactory to the highest degree." More on the history of the building can be found here. Wisconsin is celebrating Historic Preservation and Archaeology Month with a number of activities.


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