Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now
The cone shaped centennial complex

Changes due to Covid-19

American Heritage Center

AHC Opening Plans

November 13, 2020 update: 

The American Heritage Center’s Reading Room is now closed for the fall 2020 research season.

The American Heritage Center has decided to close its Reading Room and to remain closed into the start of the new year.

This follows the University of Wyoming’s decision to “...transition to Phase 4 of its fall 2020 semester Monday, Nov. 16, a week earlier than scheduled, because of the significant increase in COVID-19 cases among the UW community and in the state.”  []  In recent weeks, Covid cases in Wyoming have increased to the point that it has become one of the nation’s highest per-capita areas of infection. It is much more dangerous to visit now and to have extended, public, indoor interaction with people than it has been at any time since the start of pandemic restrictions in March 2020.

The AHC has been able to provide on-site access for UW researchers participating in the Covid-19 testing program, and by advance appointment only, for more than six weeks this semester. We are sorry that our reading room is now closed, but glad we could provide this level of access for UW users. 

Archivists continue to work on-site to provide researchers with a variety of remote services and remote modes of access to its materials. Please visit the Virtual Resources Hub [insert this link,] to learn more about the services we offer and to contact an archivist.  We plan to re-open to researchers in the Spring semester, 2021, when it is safe to do so, and according to University of Wyoming guidelines. Please watch this page for updates.

If you are a student working on, or thinking about working on, a Wyoming History Day project, please visit [insert link] There you will find digitized primary source materials on a variety of topics relating to this year’s theme.  More topics and historic materials are being added each week, so be sure to stop by regularly. You will also find information about WHD and National History Day on the site.

Thank you for understanding. We hope all of our researchers stay safe and healthy.


September 28: (The following is no longer valid) Stage One AHC Re-Opening for UW employees & students only, by appointment.

We are excited to announce that the American Heritage Center Reading Room plans to re-open for on-site research, by approved pre-appointment only, for UW employees and students beginning on September 28.  We will have limited hours (10-4, weekdays only), limited seating (8 researchers maximum), and additional rules will be in place. Masks and social distancing are required, as is a daily “Green Card” pass from the Covid Pass website.

Visitors to the Reading Room will fill out the application for on-site appointments.

A re-opening plan for patrons outside of UW is being developed. Please watch for these announcements.

The AHC works to balance safety and access during this unprecedented time. All on-site access/procedures are subject to change as necessary and to conform UW Covid-19 policies.


On September 10 (The following is no longer valid) the American Heritage Center will begin Phase 1 of its plan to reopen to the public. The reading room will open to UW faculty/staff/students for research purposes by approved appointment only. Appointments are available Monday through Friday between the hours of 12 and 4.  To make an appointment, contact the Reference Services department at The reading room is taking precautions against Covid-19 which will require in part the correct wearing of masks and proper social distancing while in the AHC. The AHC’s Reference Services continues to provide remote access to its collections; please contact them at the above email for assistance.

More about the reading room’s precautions will be published on the AHC's website, when available.  The remainder of the AHC’s public areas will remain closed as they are under construction. Future phases of re-opening for researchers from the state of Wyoming, researchers from around the country, and researchers from around the world will be posted as soon as plans are confirmed.


AHC Closing Update

On May 6, 2020, the American Heritage Center evaluated the current situation with regard to the restrictions surrounding Covid-19 pandemic and decided that it was not yet safe for its patrons or its staff to reopen the Reading Room for public access. This will be our status until early June, at least. While this is vague, we note that although the University of Wyoming hopes to have the campus ready for students to return to classes in the fall, at the moment there are no plans to reopen the campus before August. Paul Flesher, the AHC’s director, is in regular and frequent contact with campus authorities who are monitoring the situation and guiding the entire UW campus to remain safe and healthy while doing as much of its normal business of teaching and research as possible. The AHC staff is disappointed that the health emergency is still not under control or predictable, preventing our public operation.

In the meantime, the AHC collections remain accessible remotely. We have prioritized scanning operations to make materials available to patrons and our photo services continue unchanged. Please let us know if you want to study some collection materials. If you wish to consult with a reference archivist, please let us know and we can arrange a phone call or Zoom meeting. Since many of our staff are working remotely, the easiest way to contact Reference services is by email at This email is checked several times a day. You can also call 307-766-3756 and leave a message.


The AHC Blog Continues to Post—#AlwaysArchiving!

Even though the Covid-19 emergency has caused the AHC to close its doors, work goes on behind the scenes. New posts continue to appear on the AHC Blog on a regular basis. Check out recent essays about how the Spanish Flu epidemic impacted Wyoming and about how Bruce Lee was introduced to the American public on The Green Hornet!


Peter Simpson Fellowship Canceled:

As of Monday, March 30, the American Heritage Center and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West have decided to cancel the Peter K. Simpson Fellowship on the American West for this year.


Changes to Grants and Fellowship Due Dates:

As of Wednesday, March 18th, the following AHC Grants and Fellowships due dates have been pushed back to April 30th to accommodate delays caused by the Covid-19 situation:

Alan K. Simpson Fellowship in Western Political History
George A. Rentschler Fellowship on the Study of the American West
Women in Public Life Fellowship
Bernard L. Majewski Research Fellowship
Peter K. Simpson Fellowship on the American West -- Now Canceled


AHC Closed Until Further Notice:

As of Wednesday, March 18, the American Heritage Center and the Centennial Complex will be closed to public access and drop-in traffic. The reading room will not be open to patrons. These measures aim to help slow or stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We expect to be open by mid-August, along with the University of Wyoming's Fall semester opening.

Instead, please make use of the AHC’s Online Catalog and Finding Aids, as well as our thousands of Digitized and Online Items.

The AHC's Reference staff is hard at work and ready to help you with your research project. You can take advantage of our expanded Reference Services by emailing . This email is monitored continually on weekdays. The Reference staff will be in touch with you quickly.

The AHC’s staff apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to serving you online as we practice social distancing.


Professor Paul Flesher, Director

American Heritage Center

University of Wyoming

Contact Us

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon