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.


Fall 2022 regular hours: September 7 - December 14

      Tuesday: 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

      Wednesday - Thursday: 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. or by appointment

      Friday - Monday: CLOSED

In our commitment to public health and safety, we recommend visitors please call (608) 785-8511 or email ahead of your visit to schedule an appointment

General service updates:

  • Continued, limited services via email as possible. Please note that response times may be delayed due to high volume of requests.
  • Additional archival resources are available online at: Murphy Library Digital Collections.
  • Transfers of archival materials from the Wisconsin Historical Society and other Area Research Centers may take additional time due to COVID-19.
  • Please note, SC/ARC is closed on holidays and maintains reduced hours during university break/intersession periods such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, January-term, spring break, and summer. 

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


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.