University of Wisconsin–Madison

About the Project

Wisconsin 101: Our History in Objects is a collaborative public history project that includes both an interactive online exhibit and programming on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR). Students, amateur historians, and other Wisconsin residents nominate objects of interest or importance to their communities, then research, write, and illustrate histories of those objects for publication on this website and segments of WPR’s Wisconsin Life.

Visitors to our site can explore a growing catalog of objects from around the state, each telling a set of interconnected stories about Wisconsin’s history, people, and places. For example, an old blues record produced in Port Washington leads us to the history of popular music in Wisconsin, which in turn teaches us about the lives and livelihoods of Mexican-American performers from one of the state’s first Latino immigrant communities. Altogether, the objects and stories featured on Wisconsin 101 cut across the diverse regional, cultural, economic, and political differences of our state, providing a rich sense of our shared heritage.

Everyone is invited to participate in building this interactive, public resource for exploring Wisconsin’s history and geography. Our project staff works closely with historians, archivists, WPR producers, and other experts to offer guidance as contributors identify new objects for submission and ultimately research and write the histories of those objects. Wisconsin 101 also partners with community organizations, museums, and teachers to make participation in the project as accessible as possible.

Interested in contributing for the Wisconsin 101 collection? Visit our submission guide to find out how you can participate!