October is American Archives Month

Written by Laurinda Weisse, University Archivist

In celebration of American Archives Month, UNK Archivist Laurinda Weisse talks a bit about what archives are and what is in UNK’s Archives.

What is an archive?

An archive is a place where people go to find information. People who do research in archives often gather firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, audio and video recordings, and other primary sources.

You probably have an archive in your home. It might consist of papers in a filing cabinet, items stored in a box in the basement, the files on your computer or all of the above. This is your personal archive: a collection of material that records important events from your family’s history.

Believe it or not, there are similarities between your family’s archive and local, state, or national archives. All save items to serve as proof that an event occurred, to explain how something happened, or for financial or sentimental reasons. All types of archives may be stored in more than one location. And both personal archives and larger archives save a variety of materials that can range from letters, to photographs, to films, to databases, to official documents, and more. (Adapted from What is An Archives?).

What’s in the UNK Archives?

The UNK Archives is primarily an institutional archives, meaning that we focus on preserving and providing access to the history of UNK. To do so, we have collected yearbooks, student newspapers, several large collections of photographs, information on all campus buildings, committee and organization minutes and a variety of other materials created by many campus organizations. We continue to add materials that tell stories about the campus community.

In addition to our UNK materials, we also have information on subjects beyond it. One of our largest collections is the Country Schoolhouse Legacy Collection, which contains oral history interviews with people who taught in rural Nebraska schools as well as supporting materials like pictures of rural schools. Some of what the archives owns is documented on the Archives webpage but much remains to be discovered, so please contact the University Archivist about potential research topics.

How can I get access to the UNK Archives?

Simply contact the University Archivist, Laurinda Weisse, at weissell@unk.edu or 308-865-8593 to set up a time to explore the archives. You can also drop by the Archives, located on the second floor of the Calvin T. Ryan Library, during standard business hours and see if someone is available to assist you.

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