Libraries Welcome Campus to New Archives Open House Sept. 20

photo of Archives lobby and entry

The UWM Libraries’ greatly expanded and renovated Archives Department is now open, providing the UWM community and others with modern and inviting spaces in which to pursue research and learning. An open house will be held on Wednesday, September 20 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. A ribbon-cutting and remarks from Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chia Vang and Libraries Director Michael Doylen will begin the program. Tours and refreshments will be available.

The new Archives is located on the third floor, west wing of the Golda Meir Library.

The $2.8 million renovation includes an active learning classroom to maximize collaboration among students, a public reading room, and exhibits to showcase the collections. The renovation also consolidates and expands collection storage and provides essential environmental controls to support the long-term preservation of valuable and fragile documents, photographs, films, and other materials.

The opportunity to undertake this renovation was made possible by a generous $1 million gift from an anonymous donor. Additional support was provided by the State of Wisconsin, local foundations, and private individuals. The project reached its fundraising goal in 2020, and construction began in December 2021.

Photo of archives reading room
Archives public reading room.

“This impact of this renovation is truly transformative. It leans into the instructional mission of the Archives and provides our students with modern and welcoming spaces in which they can study, collaborate, learn, and conduct research,” says Libraries Director Michael Doylen.

Archives Head Derek Webb adds, “The new Archives is equipped to do every aspect of our work better: we have a classroom designed to facilitate innovate teaching methods, a climate-controlled storage area to better preserve unique historical records, and a spacious and comfortable reading room where researchers can consult the materials without distraction.”

Engberg Anderson Architects designed the new Archives; JH Hassinger, Inc. was the general contractor.

The Archives’ collections focus on the history of UWM and providing access to primary sources, largely from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, that have long-term research and instructional value.

Collection strengths pertain to the subject areas of social justice, underrepresented populations, LGBT communities, and the Milwaukee brewing industry.

photo of storage area
Archives storage area.

Significant individual collections include the WTMJ-TV news film archive, Roman B.J. Kwasniewski photographs, and the editorial files of the Little Review magazine.

The Archives’ collections are an indispensable source of information for local history projects, from magazine articles to scholarly books and documentary films. Additionally, archivists provide course-integrated instruction to students from UWM and other local colleges and universities, teaching critical thinking skills about the past and historical sources.

For more information about the Archives and the open house, contact Derek Webb at