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The WNCHA 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award has been presented to the D. Hiden Ramsey Library Special Collections of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, under the direction of Helen Wykle.
Ramsey Library Special Collections exists to serve the university and the community by facilitation of undergraduate research related to community-based issues, and to engage in community collaboration and consultation. The unit provides instructional programs for faculty and students, and encourages interdisciplinary and responsible use of primary source materials in the undergraduate context. Where possible the unit expands instructional opportunities by seeking local and regional collaborators and engaging in grant opportunities. The online collections have opened a wider audience, leading to cooperation with film and television companies, authors and magazines in providing relevant images and documents.
The physical and digital collections of the unit are available because of the work of collaborating institutions, staff, students, volunteers and interns, and provide academic support for undergraduate research programs of the university and for associated graduate programs offered through the university. Materials are acquired according to a Collection Development Policy centering on urban Appalachia and other areas such as travel and tourism ephemera, WWI and WWII in the mountains, Appalachian writers, forestry, the heritage of African Americans and Jews in western North Carolina, art and craft, civic and social service organizations of the western region, Asheville architecture, urban renewal, Appalachian religions, settlement and mission schools, and railroad history. It also has the largest collection of oral histories in western NC, covering the period since the early 1970's and topically everything from mayors to tattoo parlors.
Special Collections grew out of the Southern Highlands Research Center begun at UNCA by Dr. Bruce Greenwalt. Prof. Helen Wykle, director since 1996, initiated the digital collections program.
The Western North Carolina Historical Association is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to educate the public by promoting the preservation of regional history. Since 1952, the Western North Carolina Historical Association has presented its annual Outstanding Achievement Award to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of regional history. Recipients have included Sadie Smathers Patton, Bascom Lunsford, Ora Blackmun, Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and Dr George A Jones. For more information about WNCHA, call 828 253–9231 or visit www.wnchistory.org.
(Image provided by UNCA.)
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