UW's American Heritage Center Earns Distinguished Service Award

May 10, 2010
Historic photo of cycle shop
Cycle Shop -- A 1914 photo of a Cheyenne motorcycle shop that offered customers the latest models of Excelsior Auto Cycles, the first American-built motorcycle. This photo is among the vast collection of materials found at the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. (AHC Photo)

The University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center (AHC) has been awarded the Society of American Archivists' (SAA) 2010 Distinguished Service Award. It is the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed on an institution by the nation's primary organization dedicated to ensuring the identification, preservation and use of records of historical value.

The SAA "was thoroughly impressed by the range and depth of the AHC's contributions both to its own constituencies and the archives profession generally," Michael Doylen, chair of the SAA Distinguished Service Award Subcommittee wrote in an award letter to AHC Director Mark Greene.

The AHC will receive its award at the SAA'a annual awards ceremony Aug. 13 in Washington, D.C.

"We are delighted and humbled to receive such a prestigious award," says Greene. "The award is difficult enough to get that it is not awarded every year, only when the subcommittee believes there is a worthy recipient, and identifies us as one of the best and most innovative repositories in the United States.

"I want to thank the faculty and staff at the AHC for their tremendous work. This is an award that was achieved because of everyone here now and for the past 20 years."

In a letter of support for the AHC, Donna McCrea, archivist and manuscripts librarian at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana, wrote that the AHC "stands as a model for archives across the country."

Past winners of the SAA's top award include the Bancroft at Stanford University, the Ohio Historical Society and Duke University.

Created in 1964 and revised in 1993, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes an archival institution, education program, nonprofit organization or governmental organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archival profession.

The institution being nominated should have achieved distinction in one or more of the following ways:

-- Demonstrably contributing to archival theory and the development of new archival practice. 
-- Serving its constituency in an outstanding fashion.
-- Showing extraordinary ingenuity and resourcefulness in improving efficiency of operations or improving methods of work.
-- Going well beyond the normal performance requirements expected of an archival agency and so being an incentive to others.
-- Developing over a period of years an archival program of such depth and scope as to warrant special recognition.

The AHC's collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West and nationally on the topics of environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, the performing arts (particularly radio, television, film, and popular music), journalism, U.S. military history and book history.

To learn more about the AHC, go to the official Web site at http://ahc.uwyo.edu.


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