Welcome to the Central Library's Arts & Media Department, containing materials that run the spectrum of books, media, and other material in the fine and decorative arts, music and other performing arts, architecture, and recreational activities such as sports. The department contains the units listed below. For additional information, please visit us or call (414) 286-3000.
The Art, Music & Recreation Room contains reference materials on the visual and performing arts and on recreational activities. In addition to standard reference materials the following special collections are maintained by the department.
A wealth of architectural materials are available with a particular emphasis on Frank Lloyd Wright due to his strong ties to Wisconsin. The reference room serves as the gateway to the materials contained in the Wisconsin Architectural Archives which includes over 10,500 historical and contemporary architectural drawings, renderings, photographs, and specifications.
Auction Catalogs & Collectibles
The library has subscribed to the catalogs of Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses since the 1960s and also maintains a collection of local auction house catalogs such as Schrager Auction Galleries. The collection is very broad, containing materials that can be used to identify, evaluate and price collectibles and antiques from Americana to Zippo.
The sheet music collection has more than 10,000 songs dating from 1850. Most are from the first part of the 20th Century.
The Albert O. Trostel Collection contains more than 1,500 plays in German dating from 1865 to 1936 that were used by the German Theater stock company in Milwaukee. Named in honor of Albert O. Trostel, the collection was donated to the Milwaukee Public Library by Clara Uihlein Trostel.
Historic Milwaukee Performing Arts Collection
This collection is comprised of a large number of theater programs and ephemera related to the performing arts in and around Milwaukee and includes materials from myriad performing arts companies, such as the Milwaukee Ballet, various local theatre companies and touring companies.
The work of several Wisconsin artists is featured in the Room. Highlights are: the entrance is graced with a mosaic floor by artist Steve Feren; colorful paintings by Schomer Lichtner and Ruth Grotenrath usher the visitor into the main room; and, a painting of Frank Lloyd Wright done by Lester Schwartz is prominently displayed.