Special Collections and Archives blog

October 13, 2014
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Offerings to the Gods of Light and Shadow: Selections from the John Running Collection. Exhibit Opening, October 20, 2014

Entry and title of exhibit. The image to the left is of one of John's favorite models, Bernadette and her daughters.

Entry and title of exhibit. The image to the left is of one of John’s favorite models, Bernadette Chavez and her daughters.

The Cline Library and Special Collections and Archives are excited to announce the opening of the John Running exhibit, “Offerings to the Gods of Light and Shadow: Selections from the John Running Collection,” on Monday, October 20, 2014. The exhibit is a retrospective of John Running’s 40 plus year career as a photographer and artist based in Flagstaff, Arizona.

John Running, sitting in the "studio" as the exhibit is being installed.

John Running, sitting in the “studio” as the exhibit is being installed.

Cinda Nofziger was the Elizabeth M. and P.T. Reilly Intern who curated the exhibited under the supervision of the Curator for Visual Materials, Jonathan Pringle. Cinda is a graduate student at the University of Michigan’s Information Science program.

Curator of Visual Materials and Exhibit Supervisor, Jonathan Pringle.

Curator of Visual Materials and Exhibit Supervisor, Jonathan Pringle, sitting for a portrait in the “studio”.

The exhibit highlights John’s photography career and includes selections that touch on his documentary work, portraitures, project-based photographs, and the print making process. The exhibit includes powerful and poignant images of Southwest Native Americans, the Tarahumara of northern Mexico, Palestine in the early 1990s, and several models he worked with over his career.

One compelling aspect of the exhibit is the inclusion of selections from John’s personal journals that correspond with several of the images. This “archival diptych” provides a glimpse into the artist’s mind at the time the photographs were created. It’s rare and exciting to have this type of insight into an artist’s process and life.

Pat Lauderdale, CO Bar Ranch. Photo and journal entry by John Running.

Pat Lauderdale, CO Bar Ranch. Photo and journal entry by John Running.

Social media will play an informational and fun role in the exhibit. We added QR codes to many of the images so visitors can learn more about particular images and projects. There’s also a QR code that connects with the virtual version of the exhibit. In an effort to engage visitors, we added a small, functioning  “studio” in the exhibit, where visitors can sit in one of John’s studio chairs and have their image taken. We’re asking that everyone tag their images with #JohnRunningCline. Whether you see the exhibit in person or virtually, we encourage you to “like us” (@NAUCL and @JohnRunning), “follow us” (@NAUClineLibrary and @JohnRunning), or “tag us” (#JohnRunningCline) using your favorite flavor of social media.

Social Media Handles for the Exhibit and QR Code for the Online Version of the Exhibit.

Social Media Handles for the Exhibit and QR Code for the Online Version of the Exhibit.

Links to previous posts about the John Running exhibit by Cinda Nofziger and Jonathan Pringle are available as are additional selections from the John Running collection via our digital archives.

The exhibit will be open to the public from Monday, October 20, 2014 to September 30, 2015 during Special Collections and Archives hours of operation.

 

October 13, 2014
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The Things you find lurking in your collections…

There I was, minding my own business, sorting through the Bill Belknap photo collection, looking for representative images of the Grand Canyon to upload to our Historypin profile. I was trying to emphasize Belknap’s great Grand Canyon and river images, and became sort of captivated by the jet-boat Colorado River up-river run story Belknap so thoroughly documented on film. It therefore seemed logical to try a new search: “Belknap boats”. Sure, I found a whole array of images of motorboats, kayaks, inflatables, dories and what have you in the Grand Canyon on the river, but I also found a few real gems- images Belknap took at Lake Mead in 1955 of a boat race. There, among images of hydroplane boats, and the “pits” for the boats was an image of Donald Campbell getting into his Bluebird K7 preparing to try to set a Water Speed Record (WSR) and managing a blistering 216.2 m.p.h. on the lake on that November day.

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We’re obviously used to finding images of important people and events in our archives, but perhaps not quite of the celebrity caliber of Mr. Campbell. The son of  Land Speed Record (LSR) and WSR holder Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald Campbell not only tried for and set speed records on water, but also on land (he had gone over 403 m.p.h. in Australia, just shy of American Craig Breedlove’s record of 407 at Bonneville), and in fact his goal was to set both records in the same year- an LSR in a rocket powered Bluebird CN7 and a WSR in a heavily modified Bluebird K7- then retire as the world’s obvious king of speed.

Tragically, Campbell was killed while attempting to go more than 300 m.p.h. on the water at Coniston, Lancashire in early 1967. Between them, the Campbells held nearly a dozen Water and Land Speed Records.

That sort of puts an image of boating on the Colorado River into a whole other perspective, yes?

September 25, 2014
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Launching Exhibits in SCA

With just over three weeks until the opening of our next exhibit, “Offerings to the Gods of Light and Shadow: Selections from the John Running Collection,” we felt it might be apropos to give folks a chance to see a little bit behind the scenes. The month before an exhibit opening is usually a frenetic, fast-paced time in our department. Many of our staff are on lock-down, focusing exclusively on preparing aspects of both our physical and complementary virtual exhibits. By this point, printing, framing and matting supplies have been ordered and piles are being formed for freshly-printed photographs requiring intricate matting, while complementary text panels and scans of journal pages await mounting (either on foamcore or matboard).

Items stacked, awaiting mounting on foamcore or matboard

Items stacked, awaiting mounting on foamcore or matboard

Some things require more extensive editing. Our upcoming physical exhibit will feature–for the first time–a large printed timeline in lieu of a text-heavy biography of John Running. This timeline will be approximately 80 inches wide and 22 inches tall. Our printer can handle images of this size, but we don’t want to have to print more than one or two at most, so heavy editing after the first will ensure the second (and hopefully final) will be perfect. You will note the many annotations and sticky notes that were quickly affixed to our first draft below.

This timeline has been vetted by many staff and is ready for its final printing

This timeline has been vetted by many staff and is ready for its final printing

Another new feature to this exhibit will be different types of printer paper. While photographs and the timeline will be printed using our regular glossy photo paper, associated digitized journal pages will be printed on a matte paper. This will hopefully help the journals achieve a more authentic ‘paper’ look when presented next to John Running’s beautiful photography.

Our Epson Stylus Pro 7880 printer can print images as wide as 24 inches but infinitely long

Our Epson Stylus Pro 7880 printer can print images as wide as 24 inches but infinitely long

To adhere our text panels and digitized journal pages to their supports (either foamcore or matboard), we must first cut a piece of foamcore or matboard that matches the size of the item being mounted. A similar-sized piece of dry-mount paper is also cut to size that will act as the adhesive between the image on photo paper and the physical support. All of these pieces are then placed into the department’s dry-mount press at a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-5 minutes.

The department's dry-mount press

The department’s dry-mount press

When everything has properly adhered and allowed to cool off under pressure, it is time to trim the items and create clean corners on the foamcore or matboard. Using a precise set of cutting tools, text panels and photographs are trimmed to exact measurements.

We cut each of our mounted panels and photographs with care and attention

We cut each of our mounted panels and photographs with care and attention

Our wall-mounted images require unique matting for each image. SCA staff will carefully evaluate each image to ensure that any matting applied to the printed photographs will not cut off any portion of the image. Aside from large-framed images, smaller images generally do not require any sort of dry-mounting. An attractive, smooth display for visitors is achieved when pressure is placed against the glass surface using the frame’s (hidden) metal brackets and braces.

SCA staff making adjustments to matting

SCA staff making adjustments to matting

The countdown is on! We’re looking forward to making our next exhibit a thoughtful symbiosis between John Running’s photography and his thought process underpinning the images he’s made. The hard work that SCA does to prepare this narrative is a big endeavor, but one that we feel we’re prepared for – having demonstrated success with it for over twenty years.

September 18, 2014
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Southside Market, 217 S. San Francisco Street

Growing up in Flagstaff, I’m familiar with much of the neighborhood histories and the built environment of Flagstaff. One of my childhood memories of Flagstaff is going to the grocery store located on the southside of the tracks at the corner of Butler Avenue and San Francisco Street. This grocery store, “La Ciudad de Mexico”, was built in the 1920s and it was “my” neighborhood grocery store. Eventually it became the Southside Market grocery store and then served as the home of several other establishments. The owners at that time I was growing up were Mary and Jose Cisterna. Mary was the daughter of Salvador Mier, the original owner of the store when it La Ciudad de Mexico.

La Ciudad de Mexico, located on 217 S. San Francisco Street, 1924. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, NAU.PH.639.4

La Ciudad de Mexico, located on 217 S. San Francisco Street, 1924.
Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, NAU.PH.639.4

Southside Market, 217 S. San Francisco Street, 1978. Photo courtesy of Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

Southside Market, 217 S. San Francisco Street, 1978.
Photo courtesy of Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

Mary’s father, Salvador Mier, was born in 1883 in northern Spain and at the age of 12 he and a brother immigrated to Juarez, Mexico, escaping the impoverished conditions of Spain. At the age of 19, he entered the United States, where he first settled in San Francisco, California and then moved to Arizona.

Mier Family Sitting for Family Portrait, circa 1925. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, NAU.PH.639.5

Mier Family Sitting for Family Portrait, circa 1925.
Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, NAU.PH.639.5

Mary Mier Cisterna, 217 S. San Francisco Street, circa 1978.  Photo courtesy Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

Mary Mier Cisterna, 217 S. San Francisco Street, circa 1978.
Photo courtesy Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

Salvador returned to Spain after marrying his first wife, Esperanza. After several set backs, he eventually he returned to Arizona and settled in Flagstaff, where he rented his first grocery store, “Eagle Store”, on Railroad Avenue (Santa Fe Street) in partnership with Firmin Cajias. Later he opened a second grocery store at 201 S. San Francisco Street. As his family and business grew, he found it necessary to build the two-story structure at 217 S. San Francisco Street, which became La Ciudad de Mexico. The building plans were for the first floor to be the general grocery store and their residence on the second floor. Mr. Mier and two local carpenters, Bruno Vasquez and Trinidad Juarez, and a local stonecutter were the labor of this old establishment.

The two-story building standing at 217 S. San Francisco Street today, that was formerly La Ciudad de Mexico and the Southside Grocery, has seen several other businesses come and go. The two most recent businesses that rented the space were the Dragon’s Plunder (1987-2006) and the AZ Bikes (2012-2014). Although the businesses using the building may come and go, much of the original character and charm of the original building remains today.

Dragon's Plunder, 217 S. San Francisco Street, circa 1995. Photo courtesy of Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

Dragon’s Plunder, 217 S. San Francisco Street, circa 1995.
Photo courtesy of Colorado Plateau Vertical Files.

For additional information on the history of Flagstaff’s Southside, please consult the Colorado Plateau Vertical Files (http://tinyurl.com/nojcsb5) and Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff oral history project (http://library.nau.edu/speccoll/exhibits/recuerdos/index.html).

~Delia Munoz

September 8, 2014
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Parting Thoughts from our 2014 Reilly Intern, Dr. Cinda Nofziger

 Jackrabbit Trading Post Billboard, facing west, Route 66, Joseph City, AZ. John Running's Route 66/Jeans Fashion Shoot, John Running Collection (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.10.0.19)

Jackrabbit Trading Post Billboard, facing west, Route 66, Joseph City, AZ. John Running’s Route 66/Jeans Fashion Shoot, John Running Collection (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.10.0.19)

As I reflect back on my amazing experience as the Reilly Intern at the Cline Library curating a physical and planning a virtual exhibit about Flagstaff photographer John Running this summer, I recognize something unexpected as the most significant aspect of archives. It is not the diaries that I worked with, or the fabulous photographs I saw, but the people I encountered. Some I encountered through their words in journals, or stories about them relayed in diaries, some I encountered in person—as the subject of the exhibit I designed, and as staff who worked along side me. My encounters with people are what made the experience in the SCA rewarding, but it’s the people behind the stuff in archives, or next to it, or looking at it that make archives exciting and important. We form relationships with people—historic figures and contemporaries–as we examine and organize the past.

Archives are commonly understood to be about stuff, about old books and manuscripts, historic diaries and photographs, precious documents that we must treat gingerly and with utmost respect. The materials are housed in special folders within special boxes, in vaults that are carefully climate controlled. People who want to look at the materials have to ask permission and handle the materials carefully, sometimes even wearing gloves!

Bernadette Chavez, John Running Collection, (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.13.15.131)

Bernadette Chavez, John Running Collection, (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.13.15.131)

Tarahumara Man - Christmas Week, John Running Collection, (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.4.2.211)

Tarahumara Man – Christmas Week, John Running Collection, (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.4.2.211)

But this summer’s internship has shown me that archives and special collections are actually about people: people and their stories, and groups of people working together to share stories. I’m grateful to my the staff at SCA who shared their stories with me—stories about transitioning out of graduate school into the professional world of archives, about Route 66, about upcoming weddings and wedding photographs, about Flagstaff’s past, about sheepherders and railroad workers, about wives and mothers who worked hard to keep their children fed and clothed while their husbands pursued dreams that didn’t always bring in enough to pay the bills, about families traveling together across the country, and stories from one man about his own life, his photographs, and his understanding of what it means to be human.

John Running, Grand Canyon Cafe, Flagstaff, AZ (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.13.3.99)

John Running, Grand Canyon Cafe, Flagstaff, AZ (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.13.3.99)

I got to know Flagstaff photographer John Running extremely well during the two months I was at SCA, not only from interacting with him, but from reading his journals and immersing myself in his photographs. There’s a responsibility that comes with telling someone else’s story. Running feels that when he photographs people, and I felt the same way as I put together this exhibit. Because he is a living donor, there may have been some challenges that one wouldn’t have in telling the story of someone who has already passed away. There were occasional differences of perspective. I think they mostly stemmed from our different positions—I hold a historian and archivist’s perspective, and he is the creator of the photographs. When he’s done exhibits in the past they have been more singularly focused on the photographs and he’s had a significant amount of control over what goes into an exhibit and how it is presented. The SCA exhibit is a bit different from what he’s used to. Our exhibit attempts to show something broader and deeper than what is possible with only the photographs. Archives can provide context—background, connections, relationships. And that’s what we wanted to show by bringing the journals and the photographs together. To think about the whole scope of his life and work and to offer something new about his work, his life and what it means to be a photographer.

At the same time, there’s a very intimate perspective that comes from reading someone else’s inner most thoughts. There were some days when I would spend most of the day researching by reading Running’s journals; his voice from the journals was constantly in my head this summer. Other days I looked at slide after slide, print after print, image after image. There’s a certain weight, a certain gravity that comes from that type of intense and short term research. Certainly it brings a sense of empathy and a real recognition of that person’s humanity. From that experience, I wanted to grasp the truth of this person, this photographer, and try to present it honestly. I hope the exhibit does that.

 

Shonto Dune, John Running Collection (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.5.12.203)

Shonto Dune, John Running Collection (NAU.PH.2013.4.1.5.12.203)

Flagstaff photographer John Running will tell you that he tries to tell the truth in his photographs, to honestly capture a moment in time, to clearly represent his subjects. I was inspired by reading those ideas in his journals and tried to bring that sense of truth and honesty into the exhibit I created for the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives this summer.

Cinda Nofziger

 

August 21, 2014
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Looking To Acutely Focus Your Research without having to step foot in the Archive?

aao2

http://www.azarchivesonline.org

 

What is Arizona Archives Online (AAO)?

Arizona Archives Online brings together detailed descriptions of archival material about the history of Arizona and other subjects. The archival collections described in AAO are held at institutions across the state including academic libraries, historical institutions, special collections libraries, museums and other libraries and archives in Arizona.

There are currently 12 institutions throughout the state of Arizona that contribute content to Arizona Archives Online:

  • Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections
  • Northern Arizona University, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives
  • University of Arizona Library Special Collections
  • University of Arizona Libraries. Center for Creative Photography.
  • Arizona State MuseumMuseum of Northern Arizona
  • The Arizona Historical Society: Northern Division
  • Sharlot Hall Museum
  • Arizona State Library, History and Archives Division
  • Lowell Observatory Library and Archives
  • Heard Museum Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives
  • Peggy J. Slusser Memorial Philatelic Library

 

What is Archival Description?

Archival description is the practice of describing and sometimes indexing the content of archival documents or archival collections. Products of archival description include library catalog records, repository guides, collection guides (often known as finding aids), websites and specialized databases. Arizona Archives Online is a website that contains searchable finding aids.

What is in a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of a collection of archival materials. It describes who created the materials, and when, as well as the type of materials, the topics of the collection, how it is organized and why it is significant. The depth of description of an archival collection contained within a finding aid will vary based on local institutional policies and the discretion of the archivist processing the collection.

Why are the collections in Arizona Archives Online not digitized?

Digitization of content on AAO is left to the discretion of the contributing members to the AAO website. Due to funding, digitization resources, copyright restrictions, and staff time many archival holdings described on AAO are not digitized. Some of the collections described on AAO do have links to digitized content. These digital items can be found either linked to local servers or to other digital instances on the internet. Arizona Archives Online was designed to provide digitized content as it becomes available at the discretion of the contributing members. Contact AAO at todd.welch@nau.edu to inquire as to any future efforts by participating members to digitize specific content.

 

Other local and national web sites for electronic archival description include:

Arizona Memory Project: http://azmemory.lib.az.us/
Arizona Cultural Inventory Project: http://cip.azlibrary.gov/
Online Archives of California: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/
Northwest Digital Archives: http://nwda.wsulibs.wsu.edu/
Rocky Mountain Online Archive: http://rmoa.unm.edu/
Mountain West Digital Library: http://mwdl.org/
Texas Archival Resources Online: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/
Ohio Link Finding Aid Repository: http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/
North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online: http://www.ncecho.org/
Archives Florida: http://palmm2.fcla.edu/afl/

 

 

August 8, 2014
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Tad Nichols, Images of a Lost World, Glen Canyon

cathedral_in_the_desert  nichols_blog_portrait

NAU.PH.99.3.1.69.9                                                 NAU.PH.99.3.1.7.220

Glen Canyon was a favorite of photographer Tad Nichols, where he shot over four thousand images. From these many images, a book was published by the Museum of New Mexico Press in August of 2000, entitled, “Glen Canyon: Images of a Lost World, Photographs and Recollections,”

Tad was born in Springfield, Ohio, on July 8, 1911. He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 1930, when due to his asthma, he was sent to Mesa Ranch School in Arizona. In addition to academics, his school experiences there included camping, hiking, and horseback riding. These activities helped Nichols develop a great love of the outdoors.

From fall of 1932 until spring of 1937, he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. He graduated with a double degree in geology and anthropology. He met Mary Jane Hayden in an astronomy class. They were married in 1937.

Tad’s initial interest in taking pictures was inspired by a university photography class. Later he studied with such noted photographers as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Brett Weston. He traveled with many scientific expeditions, during which he acted as official photographer. This included several trips to Mexico to document the eruptions of Paricutin Volcano, as well as other worldwide trips with geologist and naturalist Edwin McKee. Nichols was also involved in making films. He had gained experience as a cameraman during World War II, while creating training films for the Air Force. Afterwards he made films of his own about the Southwest, and also produced instructional films for the U.S. Indian Service. During the 1950s, Nichols worked for Walt Disney Productions and the Sierra Club.  Tad traveled extensively throughout the world, in such diverse locales as Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, Mexico, Central America, South America, Galapagos, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Southwestern United States. Of all these places, Glen Canyon was a favorite.

To check out more of Tad’s beautiful images of Glen Canyon, please click the link below.

http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/Nichols,%20Tad,%201911-/mode/exact

Looking for more information about Glen Canyon concerning the development and impact of Glen Canyon Dam, be sure to check out our Glen Canyon Resources Page linked below.

http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm/glencanyon/

 

August 4, 2014
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That’s the Way He Rolled – Blast from the Past

President Walkup throws an NAU bowling ball in the newly constructed bowling alley in the University Union Field House (Photo credit: University Archives, circa 1966)

President Walkup throws an NAU bowling ball in the newly constructed bowling alley in the University Union Field House (Photo credit: University Archives, circa 1966)

President J. Lawrence Walkup was one of our most active, involved, and energetic university presidents. He served NAU for 30 years (1949-1979), 22 of them as president (1957-1979). According to Platt Cline, author of Mountain Campus- The Story of Northern Arizona University, President Walkup was known as “The Student’s President.” As seen in this photograph, he could “roll” with the best of them.

President Walkup advanced the university in numerous ways during his 22 year tenure as president. Two notable advancements include the extensive expansion of the institution’s physical plant from the historical North Campus through Central Campus and South Campus; the other being the academic evolution of the institution from Arizona State College to Northern Arizona University in 1966. NAU granted its first PhD in 1968.

President Walkup’s papers are housed in the University Archives and contain a wide breadth of issues documenting the  history of the university. The finding aid to his papers can be viewed here as well as an oral history with President Walkup conducted in 1996 with Dr. Monte Poen.

July 23, 2014
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SCA Receives Two Important Grants

Writing grants can be a time-consuming process, one that isn’t for the faint of heart. Aside from adhering to a prescribed style of writing, there is research, data collection, and collaboration that all form critical parts of the grant-writing process. Then, of course, there is the unapologetic waiting period–often months go by–where a frenzy of activity results in the sound of crickets until word is received, either in the positive or negative.

Special Collections and Archives has been through this process a handful of times throughout the past number of years and has demonstrated great success when requesting funding assistance for departmental initiatives. It is encouraging when granting agencies have funds available to help SCA undertake projects it has already been planning, especially when the granting agency’s review committee agrees and funds them. We wish to share information with you about two such grants that were received and what these funds will be applied towards.

A recently received grant [early July 2014] from Arizona Humanities (formerly the Arizona Humanities Council) will enable SCA to provide and make available online transcriptions for a backlog of 20 oral histories recorded from 1999-2014 for the “Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff” project. See an earlier blog post about the history of that project. Mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, transcription is a required component when providing access to these audio/video recordings in an online format. Once transcribed, these narratives will be keyword searchable and freely accessible by students, faculty, researchers, and the public.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo

Just this past week, SCA received word that it was successful with its December 2013 application to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the second part of a three-part project designed to plan for [and later implement] specialized cold storage for the fragile visual materials (photographs, negatives, moving images, magnetic media) that form a significant part of the rare and original archival collections housed in SCA. Funding from NEH’s Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant opportunity will bring in a team of specialized experts who will work collaboratively to plan for (a) storage environment(s) that will significantly deter the degradation of these irreplaceable items. This grant is building off SCA’s successful April 2012 application to NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grant program and subsequent consultant’s assessment report (April 2013). Successful outcomes of this upcoming two-year planning process will be a comprehensive plan and related schematics that will incorporate the collaborative team’s expertise. A subsequent third grant application to NEH would then be submitted to assist with implementation.

We look forward to sharing the results of both these projects with everybody in the coming months and years. Our continued thanks to Arizona Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing us with the opportunity to enhance our program!