MPM's Photograph Collection serves as visual record of the history of the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Most of the estimated 300,000 images in the collection were taken by Museum staff and record the work of the Museum -– its collections, research, exhibitions, and activities. Images from the collection increase awareness of the Museum and are used in exhibits, textbooks, journals, and electronic media.

Significant collections include:

  • Sumner W. Matteson Collection: 6,000 images documenting the changing American lifestyle at the turn of the century - 1890 to 1920.
  • Wisconsin Indians: A series of photographs taken by Museum anthropologists from 1910 to 1960 that reflects their work among several of the Wisconsin Indian tribes.
  • Non-Wisconsin Indians: A series of photographs mostly taken by museum staff from about 1915 through 1971 that reflects their work among several American Indian tribes.
  • Wisconsin Archaeology: 2,000 photographs of the Milwaukee Public Museum's anthropologists at work at the important archaeology sites in Wisconsin.