The Material Culture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison examines forms,
uses, and meanings of objects, images, and environments in everyday life. We want
to take a fresh look at old categories of study in order to discover untold stories.

By breaking down the barriers between the traditional definitions of craft, design, folk, decorative, art and history we are able to see that these categories are all linked by expressions of creativity in everyday life. Our program’s strength lies in our ability to approach through a variety of media, as well as to examine it from the perspective of a wide range of time periods. We are dedicated to innovative interdisciplinary research and teaching that engages the material world of diverse cultures and times.

We are also committed to taking full advantage of the resources provided by a major research institution. These include a unique community of scholars, a broad curriculum, richly diverse collections, and close ties to other local and regional institutions.

Many of our students participate in extra curricular activities hosted by the Material Culture Student Focus Group, which is a registered student organization. Some undergraduate students choose a more rigorous path by pursuing the Certificate in Material Culture Studies.