The AHC has received $180,000 from the IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museum and Libraries to be spent over two years. The funds will assist us in supplying primary sources to middle and high school students competing in Wyoming History Day (WHD), the state affiliate of the National History Day (NHD) contest. AHC Archivist Leslie Waggener will be the project director. The AHC has been home to WHD for more than two decades.
IMLS – the Institute of Museum and Library Services – is an independent federal government agency that supports America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. The agency received CARES Act funds to help their constituents expand digital network access, purchase Internet accessible devices, and providing technical support services to their communities.
Competition for IMLS CARES Act funds was stiff; there were more than 1600 applications for just $13 million of CARES Act money.
The 2021 National History Day theme of “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding” offers the AHC an opportunity to digitize a wide variety of materials from nearly 90 collections covering about 30 topics, including the Pony Express, wartime journalism and propaganda, the comics industry, and transmission of Native American cultural values. Primary source sets will be placed on an easily accessible website and accompanied by essays and explanations to assist students in comprehending and contextualizing the historical documents.
Not only will this project support Wyoming’s school-age participants, but a further opportunity—a national one—significantly increases its importance. A marketing campaign using email, internet, and social media to spread awareness of the website of primary sources will inform NHD participants in all 50 states about the digitized materials, giving them access to primary sources provided by the AHC for their projects.
Additionally, the marketing campaign will emphasize to teachers that the digitized resources are not just for History Day but can also be used for instructional projects for individual students while under lockdown, quarantine, or isolation.
The WHD website will continue to be updated each year to enable the AHC to provide a location for distributing digitized materials to solve Wyoming’s problem of rural access to primary sources, even when Covid-19 finally recedes.
To learn more about the project, contact Leslie Waggener at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-766-2557.