Skip to Main Content

History: United States: Material Culture

Madson Area Technical College Libraries Research Guide: United States History

Books at Madson Area Technical College Libraries

Examples of  titles that have information or examples of material culture in United States history.


ArtStor is a digital image collections database that Madison College Libraries subscribes to. It includes not only images of art, but also objects and artifacts. They are high quality images that you can manipulate onscreen, for example, zoom in to see details.

Try an advanced search, set limiters for geography = United States, choose Decorative Arts, Utilitarian Objects, and Interior Design, Set date limits, and add a search term if you want.

Or try browse by geography = United States, choose Decorative Arts, Utilitarian Objects, and Interior Design, and sort by date.

Digital Collections

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture digitized primary materials significant to the decorative arts and material culture of early America including electronic texts and facsimiles, image databases, and web resources. University of Wisconsin.

American Memory, Library of Congress National Digital Library, is a gateway to primary source materials. Includes many decorative arts images.

The Archive of Early American Images from the holdings of the John Carter Brown Library

Natural Museum of American History The Museum has more than 3 million artifacts in its collection. Information and photos of selected objects are available in the online collections database.

Flowerdew Hundred includes a searchable database of artifacts from one of the earliest original land grants in Virginia.

ImageBase from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, includes 82,000 images of objects from the deYoung Museum and its holdings of American decorative arts. Try an advanced search, limit to period and try keywords like america or united states. The country limiter doesn't seem to work as well.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a number of digital collections. Including a number of Colonial American Art online exhibits, including this Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate in Early Colonial America exhibit

New York Public Library Digital Gallery   images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library,

Smithsonian Institution

Wisconsin Decorative Arts database "online resource for the study of craft traditions, manufacturing, state and local history, and material culture. This searchable archive brings together examples of furniture, ceramics, textiles, and other 19th and early 20th century material culture artifacts from the collections of museums and historic sites across Wisconsin."