By now, you’ve learned how the American Heritage Center (AHC) intakes, processes, and digitizes history from both the University of Wyoming, the West, and around the country. But how can people like yourselves, who want to view these documents, go about doing so? Well, Archives Specialist Vicki Glantz has the answer to that.
Glantz works in the AHC Reference Department and oversees its reading room. She explains, “Reference services entails answering research requests from patrons and providing that customer service to them.”
Vicki adds, “We help them learn how to be researchers because a lot of people don’t even know what questions to ask or where to start, and we help them do that. My primary job is to make sure that there are student workers called “pages” available to go downstairs in the storage areas and retrieve the boxes.”
The AHC employs a number of students who are earning their degrees at the University of Wyoming. They are the individuals who pull boxes of historical documents for researchers, and, right now, the Reference Department has a total of seven students. Glantz oversees them all and helps them navigate the basement storage areas filled with boxes.
“There’s extensive training you must go through in order to be allowed down there in the first place. And to be able to pull boxes,” explains Glantz.
“The stacks are all movable, but you have to know how to operate the machinery. It’s really interesting down there, but you have very extensive training before we allow anyone down there to pull boxes.”
And while many researchers come to the Center in person, if they are unable to make the trip, the AHC recently added an online method to help them out.
“Our director decided that it’d be a good idea to build two rooms. We call them the “pods.” They’re at the back of the reading room. There’s a computer and monitor and a camera,” describes Glantz.
“We built them during COVID for when people couldn’t come in and we were closed. People could still call in and request materials, and we would make scans and send them. Using the pods, we can have live conversations with our distance patrons.”
Vicki enjoys connecting with people all over the world, both in person and digitally, and there is one thing she wants everyone to know.
“We are not a museum, and we are not a library. When people come here to research their books, when they get it published, it goes to a library, not here.” Glantz exclaims.
“You come here to research your book first and then get published, and then your book goes to the library. That’s how I explain that difference to people. And the museum is right next door. The AHC does have regular displays throughout the building, with materials from our collections.” Vicki is referring to the University of Wyoming Art Museum, which is also housed in the Centennial Complex.
Thinking of visiting the AHC for a research visit? A handy website with information for you is at https://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/research/how-to-visit.html.
Post contributed by AHC intern Carissa Mosness.