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The American Heritage Center is the University of Wyoming's repository of manuscripts, rare books, and the university archives. Its collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West (including politics, settlement, and western trails) and a select handful of national topics: environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, popular entertainment (particularly radio, television, film, and popular music), journalism, US military history, and book history.
Students and scholars from around the globe use these collections for research. In one recent year, researchers traveled from 45 states and 12 countries. The AHC also sponsors a wide range of scholarly and popular programs including lectures, symposia, and exhibits. Housed in the Centennial Complex on the campus’ east side, access to the AHC is free and open to all.
Established in 1945, the AHC now holds more than 90,000 cubic feet (roughly 17 miles of cubic-foot increments) of collection material and 55,000 rare books.
The Center annually receives between six and seven thousand researchers and provides fellowships and travel grants for research. It also administers a unique Innovative Teaching and Research grant program to fund faculty of the University of Wyoming who wish to develop new courses based on primary sources in the AHC. The Center is particularly proud of its active outreach and service to undergraduates and students in grades 6-12, helping to organize and host the Wyoming History Day program, which is tied to the National History Day.
The Toppan Library at the American Heritage Center holds the University's rare book collection. The collection documents the history of the book, from medieval manuscripts to modern printed books.
Along with the University of Wyoming Art Museum, the AHC is located in the Centennial Complex. Named for the University of Wyoming’s centennial anniversary (1986) and designed by internationally acclaimed architect Antoine Predock, the Centennial Complex opened to the public in 1993.