Collections Department

Collections Department
Since 1915, an outstanding collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents has been collected. From its humble beginning in the basement of the former Kellogg Library on Jefferson St., the museum’s permanent collection today includes over 100,000 three-dimensional objects and approximately 750,000 images that represent our local and regional communities, as well as 4 million feet of news film and home movies. All of these items belong to the people of Brown County, Wisconsin.

Inside the collections, a researcher may consult a variety of Museum resources including:
  • Permanent collection of over 100,000 three-dimensional historic and prehistoric artifacts.
  • Library with books and periodicals relating to the collection and regional history.
  • Photograph collection of about one million images and four million feet of news film.
  • Archive of manuscript materials, public records, maps, newspapers, and a special collections library.
  • A reference Guide to Papers

Using the Collections

The Neville Public Museum welcomes visitors to use the collections onsite by appointment. The Neville Public Museum staff provides all possible assistance to users of the Neville's collections. Many research needs can be fulfilled remotely and that will be the preferred method. 
Research requests can be made email, mail, or telephone. Appointments will be limited by staff time, availability, and the nature of the request. A fee may be charged.

Artifact Donations

The Neville Public Museum relies on the generosity of donors to expand and refine its collections in line with its mission
The Museum limits its collecting to items relating to Northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It continues to collect in the areas of History, Science, and Art, with this regional focus applied. Objects are collected with an emphasis on interpretation and exhibition and secondarily research and study.  With this in mind, common objects with an identified local provenance are preferred. But the Museum still acquires objects that could be associated with the region or that will fill an exhibition need.
Some of the things we consider in reviewing objects for inclusion in the Museum’s permanent collection are:
1.   Is the object consistent with the Museum’s mission statement?
2.   Is the object identified as desirable by the Collections Scope or by the recommendation of curatorial or Collections Department staff?
3.   Is there currently duplication in the collection?
4.   Will acceptance of the object result in significant expense for the museum?  What are the costs for purchase, cataloging, storing, care, and conservation?
5.   Is there appropriate storage space available relevant to the object’s importance to the collection and its use?
6.   Has provenance been satisfactorily explored?
7.   Are there restrictions or provisions regarding the object(s) use, care, or display?
8.   Are there questions regarding legal title, federal violation, or any aspect relevant to the legal nature of the acquisition?
9.   Is the use of the object restricted in any way such as by copyright, patent, trademark, or trade name, or encumbered by its nature by being obscene, defamatory, potentially an invasion of privacy, physically hazardous, etc.?
10. Is there another institution where the object(s) might be more appropriately housed?
11. What is the foreseeable use of the object(s)?
Thanks to the generous donations in past years, the museum is no longer collecting:
  • Periodicals
  • Military uniforms prior to the Korean War
  • Wedding dresses prior to the 1980s
  • Textbooks prior to the 1970s
  • Phonograph records
All items offered for the Neville’s collection are carefully reviewed by staff and the Collections Committee before they are approved and accepted. To assist with the review process, donors are asked to provide photographs and information before bringing their items to the museum.
Items brought to the museum without contacting staff first may not be accepted.
To offer an object for donation please complete our online form below.  

* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Address:
* City:
* State:
* Zip Code:
* Email Address:
Business Name:
* Country:
* Object Description / Name:
* Dimensions (L x W x H) And Weight:
* How it came into your possession:
Date Made:
Date Used:
How was the object used?
What do you know about the original owner:
Has anyone else owned the items? If yes, who and when?
Do you have any documents associated with the object, such as photographs, bill of sale, letters, instruction booklets, etc.?
Do you have any additional information on the history, ownership, and documentation of your objects (including stories or anecdotes):
Overall Condition:
Item Complete?
Original finish?
How might it have been altered?
Approximate monetary value, if known:
Is there anything else we should know about your object/s? :
Attach File:
Upload 2:
* Required Field