Dr. Laurie Glass posing in front of display in Historical Gallery

Founded in 1973, the Center for Nursing History is one of a small number of centers dedicated to a historical appreciation of nursing’s influence in health care.

The heart of the center is the Historical Gallery, housed in UWM’s Cunningham Hall so researchers, students and visitors can experience rare artifacts, momentos and photos related to the advances in the art and science of nursing.  The center contains more than 1,200 rare books and other publications and is the largest academic collection of its kind in Wisconsin.

The Historical Gallery aims to:

  • instill the appreciation of the history related to nursing education and health care
  • increase awareness of the historically significant role played by nurses
  • serve as a learning resource for faculty, students and the community
  • provide a rare viewing experience of historically significant artifacts

Nursing Uniforms throughout history - from traditional to militaryOne of six Nursing Museums in the United States
Objects from9Wisconsin schools and hospitals
More than1,200rare books and publications
Nursing Caps throughout history - over 30+ varieties showcased

Historical Collections

Schools (uniforms, photos, pins, some records)

  • St Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee County Hospital/ John Doyne Medical Center, Milwaukee (limited amount)
  • Milwaukee General Hospital School of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing, Milwaukee
  • UW Madison School of Nursing (limited amount)
  • Columbia School/College of Nursing, Milwaukee


  • Ada Garvey, WWI nurse and Wisconsin public health nurse
  • Helen Creighton, nurse legal scholar
  • Harriet H. Werley, nurse researcher
  • Norma M. Lang, nurse researcher and quality of care scholar
  • Inez Hinzvark, nurse educator, nurse historian

Small collections of individuals

  • Helen Swain
  • Nancy Wright
  • Sharon Hoffman
  • Elise Fitzpatrick
  • Frances Cunningham
  • 2 WWI nurses
  • 4 WWII nurses
  • Capes
    32 representing schools, and Armed Forces
  • Caps
    110 representing schools, colleges and Armed Forces, Red Cross
  • School of Nursing Pins
  • Uniforms
    Numerous uniforms 1890 – 2010. Schools, Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps, Air Force Nurse Corps, WWI Red Cross, WWII Cadet Corps, United Airline nurse stewardess.
  • Scrapbooks
    World War I and World War II photos; various certificates, licenses, student notebooks and workbooks.

Donate memorabilia

The Historical Gallery is appreciative of donations of memorabilia that are or will be, of historical interest in the area of nursing.  Memorabilia keeps nursing history alive and is meaningful to current students, the community and nursing historians.

Examples of in-kind donations include portraits; books; films; notes; equipment; posters; uniforms; pins and: momentos of student nursing, military nursing, hospital, and public health nursing.  Financial support from individuals, groups or foundations is also greatly appreciated and used for acquisitions and upkeep of the Historical Gallery.

To make a financial donation please contact Shavonn Montgomery-Brown, Director of Advancement.

Francis Cunningham History Display
Historical memorabilia on display honoring Francis Cunningham

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