AHC Primary Sources for Wyoming History Day



Female student in period dress with hat standing at podium.
A past Wyoming History Day student makes her presentation during the 2019 competition. UW’s American Heritage Center, which hosts the annual event, has developed a website with digitized materials to help students with their projects. (UW Photo)

From UW News

A website recently launched by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC), a Wyoming History Day (WHD) participant, now boasts digitized materials on 12 popular topics within the AHC’s collections — with more planned.

The website provides online delivery of historical materials to WHD students to help create their projects and presentations. WHD is an affiliate of National History Day (NHD), with the competition running across the entire school year through district meets and then the state competition. The top projects compete at the national level.

WHD participants, as well as scholars and the public, can find contextualized resources relating to the 2021 NHD theme of “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Current resources are available on subjects such as UW’s Black 14 football players; Chief Washakie; Heart Mountain Relocation Center; women’s suffrage; the first U.S. female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross; the Rock Springs Massacre; the Pony Express; Project Wagon Wheel; radio, television and film; the Second Red Scare; women photographers and filmmakers; and architecture. All can be accessed at www.wyominghistoryday.org.

UW’s AHC created the website with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries awarded last fall. The IMLS grant will enable the AHC, in coming months, to provide materials for 30 topics held in nearly 90 collections.

In past years, students have visited the AHC in person to use its collections. Wyoming’s weather and winter roads often have made the trips difficult but, with the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are no longer possible. The IMLS grant enables the AHC to digitize holdings for the History Day competition and to build and host the website to make those digital copies available to students across Wyoming and around the nation.

The WHD website will be updated each year to accommodate the new annual History Day theme. It allows the AHC to continue to provide a comprehensive and consistent location for distributing digitized materials. This will alleviate Wyoming’s problem of rural access to primary sources and educational materials, even when COVID-19 finally recedes.

The AHC has coordinated WHD for more than a decade, hosting the state competition in Laramie every April. This year’s competition will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

For more information, call Green at (307) 766-2300 or email wyominghistoryday@gmail.com.

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