UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

History of the Area Research Center

 ARC display title

The ARC network is the essence of the Wisconsin Idea.  

  • The Chalmer Davee Library and the Wisconsin Historical Society cooperate to make unique historical resources available in River Falls, rather than requiring students, scholars, journalists, and genealogists to travel hundreds of miles to see them at the Society's headquarters in Madison.
  • When it was established in 1962, the Area Research Center (ARC) network was the first in the nation. It was revolutionary and controversial because it provided for the inter-archives loan of archival collections among network centers. Wisconsin was the only state in the country to allow this.
  • Originally, the University's archives was a small part of the ARC, but over the years the existence of an archives program at UW-River Falls has resulted in the donation of many UWRF publications, records, and artifacts that date back to the founding of the school in 1874.
  • The River Falls ARC has always supported scholarship. Students from the History, Sociology, Journalism, Physical Education, Political Science, and Agriculture Education departments have all used the ARC for research projects. For many years, English and Social Studies students from the middle school in River Falls also used the ARC extensively for a local history unit. Materials from the ARC have been used as sources for a number of popular and scholarly works, as well as background for some works of fiction.

To the left is a slide show of a few images from the 50-year history of the River Falls Area Research Center.