Special collections, Archives, & ARC


Special Collections collects, preserves, and provides access to materials that due to their physical or intellectual properties require special handling and care. Types of records housed in this section of the library include rare books, regional and Wisconsin history books, fine-press publications, maps, oral history recordings and transcripts, university archives, and a large historic photograph collection.

This department also houses the La Crosse Area Research Center (ARC), which is one of fourteen regional depositories for the Wisconsin Historical Society. The ARC holds archival records of local governmental bodies and personal papers of people and businesses from five Wisconsin counties: Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon.


The Special Collections Department and Area Research Center has its own dedicated space within the Murphy Library building. It is located on the main floor of the building. Its entrance is in the library's atrium.


Special hours: CLOSED until further notice.

Tuesday, March 17 - until further noticeSpecial Collections/ARC is closed to all in-person visitors until the end of the spring semester. Personnel are not currently able to enter the building to access archival material, but we are able to provide limited services via email.

Researchers are advised to email specoll@uwlax.edu with questions.

Contact information:

Special Collections, Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1631 Pine St.
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608.785.8511
Fax: 608.785.8639
Email: specoll@uwlax.edu


Paul Beck, Special Collections Librarian and ARC Director
Email: pbeck@uwlax.edu

Laura Godden, Special Collections Historian
Email: lgodden@uwlax.edu


Copies and permissions:

Patrons may purchase archival quality reproduction prints up to 11x17 inches in size of most Special Collections photographs for personal use and home display; this is subject to any donor and/or copyright restrictions on the photos. Please contact Special Collections (specoll@uwlax.edu) for pricing information.

For most images, exhibit, publication, commercial use, and/or public display is permitted for an additional fee and with agreement to specific licensing stipulations. Murphy Library's license agreement grants a one-time use of an image and no further duplication or use is permitted without gaining new approval. Additionally, any exhibit, publication, commercial use, and/or public display must be accompanied by a photo credit, identifying Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, as the source of the image. 


The Special Collections' staff, which includes student assistants, can sometimes undertake limited research work in indexed materials, subject to time available. Student labor is charged at $10 per hour.

George Gilkey Student Research Scholarship:

Interested in our annual scholarship? Apply for our Special Collections Scholarship.