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UW, Partners Secure History Grant to Assist State’s Libraries, Museums

March 16, 2022

The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC) will hire a project archivist to build an information network among records stewards from Wyoming’s libraries, museums and archives, with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

This part-time position and the focused project are a collaboration of the AHC, the Wyoming State Archives and the Wyoming State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB).

The NHPRC grant will be used to facilitate discussions on understanding, caring for and providing responsible access to the cultural heritage resources in this region. The first phase of the project will include identifying and conducting a survey of Wyoming’s smaller repositories that house archival materials and represent a range of cultural heritage institutions. It also will include creating an online directory from these survey contacts.

The overall goal of this effort is to create the structure for a program that would provide much-needed support to Wyoming’s smaller historical societies and museums, as well as to public libraries with local history manuscript collections.

“I believe this partnership and project will be of great value to our communities, researchers and the institutions themselves,” Wyoming State Archivist and SHRAB Coordinator Sara Davis says. “We will gain a better understanding of what is available and where; direct our sources appropriately; and build connections across the state.”

The project partners plan to use the information collected and the network created as the foundation for a follow-up proposal to establish a traveling archivist program in Wyoming. Currently, there is no existing comprehensive list of Wyoming cultural heritage institutions, and this is a necessary first step to build a traveling archivist program.

“It has long been a dream of mine to bring a traveling archivist program to Wyoming,” AHC Archivist Leslie Waggener says. “As current president of the Wyoming State Historical Society, I have seen, firsthand, how devoted Wyoming citizens are to their state’s history. This program has the goal to preserve and provide access to the full range of that history.”

The project archivist position will be advertised through the UW Human Resources website. Applications will be accepted from April to mid-May. The position will be hosted at the Wyoming State Archives and is scheduled to begin July 1.

For more information, call Waggener at (307) 766-2557 or email lwaggen2@uwyo.edu; or call Davis at (307) 777-8691 or email sara.davis@wyo.gov.

The AHC is UW’s manuscripts repository, rare books library and university archives. Officially established in 1945, the center now holds over 90,000 cubic feet of historic documents and artifacts in more than 3,500 collections -- placing the AHC among the largest nongovernmental archives in the nation. Students and scholars from around the globe use these collections for research.

The Wyoming SHRAB promotes the identification, preservation and dissemination of the state’s historical records by encouraging and supporting ongoing training programs for state, tribal and local governments; and local repositories, organizations and others involved in records care in Wyoming.

Grants are made available through the Wyoming SHRAB by the NHPRC. The program is administered by the Wyoming State Archives, which is part of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

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