Bridget Burke has been named director of the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. She begins the position July 1.
“She has a passion for fostering collaborative scholarship, and she will continue to promote the accessibility of the AHC’s internationally recognized archival collections to the people of Wyoming and to researchers of national and international prominence,” says David Jones, UW vice president for academic affairs.
Burke comes to UW from North Dakota State University, where she has been dean of libraries since 2014. She began her career in the New York Public Library and the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. Burke was an assistant curator at Yale University with the Western Americana Collection of the prestigious Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, a premier collection internationally recognized for its significance regarding study of the American West. Additionally, Burke curated the Art of the Book Collection of the Sterling Library at Yale, and directed the Alaska and Polar Regions Collection at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
“The American Heritage Center has been a compass point in my professional landscape for as long as I can remember. As a center of excellence, with collections of distinction and exceptional programs serving citizens and scholars, the impact and range of the AHC cannot be overstated. The breadth of activity is impressive, from AHC’s leadership role in archival theory and practice, to it’s coordination of History Day events directly touching the lives of children around the state. I’m excited to become a part of that, and look forward to reconnecting with some familiar faces, as well as getting to know the many new faculty and staff at the Center. Finally, I’m delighted to be joining the University of Wyoming community at a time when opportunities for collaboration are especially rich. My visit made it clear that support for the American Heritage Center is pervasive on campus, and that many points of engagement already exist. I’m honored to be selected as the next director of the AHC.” – Bridget Burke
Burke is recognized for bringing people together with archival collections for memorable public events. At Boston College, for example, she brought archival specialists together with musicians to perform and record a piece of choral music that had been identified in her archival collection.
“Our success is gauged not only by the metrics of what we hold (in collections), but by the conversations we prompt, the stories we elicit, and how we model ways to think about the past and live in the present,” Burke says.
Burke received her B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1984, an M.L.S. in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin in 1986, and an M.A. in liberal studies (American history) from Wesleyan University in 2001.