The Mineral Point Historical Society was formed in 1939 to prevent the destruction of Orchard Lawn, the Italianate-style house built by Joseph Gundry in 1867. Since its formation, the MPHS has been dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing all aspects of the history of Mineral Point and the surrounding Lead Region of Southwest Wisconsin. A significant part of the holdings of the Society are photograph collections, portions of which are now available online in collaboration with Recollection Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Heritage Online) and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Glass Plate Negative Collection comprises six different collections donated to the MPHS at various times. About 700 of these images are from a set of glass plate negatives found under a staircase in the Gundry and Gray building on High Street, when it was taken over by the Wisconsin Power and Light Company. Destined for the dumpster, a WP&L executive instead took them home and stored them in his garage. The negatives went up for auction at his estate sale in the 1970s and were purchased for the Mineral Point Historical Society. Local photographers then printed all of the images in this set. The images date from 1875 to about 1910 and document buildings and people in Mineral Point and vicinity.
The 1971 Slide Collection is the result of a study of Mineral Point conducted in 1971 by Professor Phil Lewis and students in his landscape architecture design class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The class photographed "every building in Mineral Point." The set of slides disappeared for several decades but resurfaced in 2008 when they were donated to the MPHS. Over the years, some of the slides have gone missing but the collection appears to be about 95% complete.