by Laura McClellan
Collect. Preserve. Make available.
These three tenets guide the archival field.
Home to the Winthrop Rockefeller archives, the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture is an archival practice and education leader. In addition, the Center is a partner to professionals and institutions in the archival field as it provides access to archival materials that tell the story of Arkansas’s rich political and cultural history. Finally, the Center empowers the citizens of Arkansas through an ever-expanding menu of online resources such as web exhibits and teacher lesson plans.
In 1976, UALR (now UA Little Rock) Chancellor G. Robert Ross wrote to David Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller’s younger brother. He noted, “We intend to develop a comprehensive UALR archival program, of which the Rockefeller collection would be the nucleus.”
The 1980 gift of over 2000 boxes of letters, office correspondence, films, financial records, audio recordings, and more thus established what would become the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture.
Today, the Center thrives with five full-time archivists, a Digital Services Lab, over 10,000 linear feet of collections, and more than 70,000 images. Located in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in Little Rock’s River Market District, it partners with the Central Arkansas Library System to expertly staff the state’s premier research room for topics in Arkansas history.
The Center is also integral to cultivating and training future leaders in the study of Arkansas’s past and present through its central role in UA Little Rock’s MA Public History program. From graduate assistants to interns and volunteers, the Center’s focus on education as a teaching archive makes it distinctive.
Winthrop Rockefeller believed that education was the key to Arkansas’s future. He set in motion ideas from which we all benefit, including the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture. The Center is honored to contribute to the legacy of Winthrop Rockefeller.