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The AHC is responsible for maintaining the University's Archives, and for collecting, preserving, and disseminating the historical documentation of select aspects of cultural heritage at the local, state, national, and even international levels. Our mission is to support the administrative and educational curriculum of the University by enabling historical research and interpretation across a broad spectrum of interests and disciplines. We meet these mandates through acquisition, stewardship, accessibility, service, instruction, exhibition, outreach, digitization, and collaborative programmatic activities.
The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center supports the mission of the University by sharing unique aspects of American history and cultural heritage with the UW community, faculty, staff, and campus organizations, and by making these resources available to citizens of Wyoming and to diverse global audiences. The AHC strives to make this history and cultural heritage readily accessible through a variety of platforms that foster both individual and group discovery to promote and enhance scholarly research and inquiry, curriculum development, and continuing education.
More than 100 years ago, Grace Raymond Hebard—UW faculty member, administrator, librarian, and Wyoming historian—began collecting the papers and reminiscences of Wyoming’s pioneers. Her research on the history of Wyoming, the West, emigrant trails, and Native Americans became the nucleus for what is known today as the AHC.
The AHC was officially established in 1945. In the decades that followed, nearly 70,000 cubic feet of historically important documents and artifacts were acquired. The AHC is among the largest non-governmental archives in the nation.
In 1993 the AHC and the University Art Museum occupied the multiple-award-winning Centennial Complex. Internationally-acclaimed architect Antoine Predock says of his building's unique design: "Throughout Wyoming there is a sense of landscape in formation The appearance of this ‘archival' mountain can be thought of as parallel to the slow but certain geologic upheaval."
The AHC occupies 60 percent of the building's 127,000 square feet. The AHC's portion of the complex is named for Eleanor Chatterton Kennedy, daughter of a former Wyoming governor, and for Joe and Arlene Watt, cattle ranchers and descendants of Wyoming pioneers.
Select rooms in our facility are available for affiliated UW groups and related archival institutions to use. To inquire, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Bookings are subject to approval by the AHC Director.