The Arkansas History Commission was awarded a major grant earlier this month from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. The AHC’s primary goal is to collect, manage, and maintain stewardship of historical Arkansas material, and to encourage research in and broaden knowledge of Arkansas history. Imperative in this mandate is the AHC’s ability to allow use of materials without incurring significant damage or deterioration to irreplaceable documents or objects. The History Commission serves as the state archives and is Arkansas’s largest archival institution.
A reconfiguration of the public areas of the History Commission will afford greater access to the state’s documentary heritage through utilization of State Archives’ historical records and materials by in-house and off-site researchers. Most books and microfilm will be relocated to “open” stacks, allowing patron access without staff assistance. New computer workstations will provide search capability of the online public access catalog (OPAC) and specialized databases pertaining to AHC materials including Biodex, Arkansas Confederate Pension Records, and State Land Office records. New microfilm reader-printers will replace existing readers to simplify copying of research findings.
The reorganization of the History Commission’s website will offer digital images of actual documents and museum objects to users in Arkansas and around the world. The new design will be launched during Archives Week in October 2006, an event sponsored by the Arkansas History Commission.