CONWAY—The University of Central Arkansas Archives has recently digitized more than 1,000 historical photographs. The collection includes buildings, social activities and student life dating back to the school’s beginning in 1907 and can be accessed here.
The Archives has been collecting images since 1986 and is constantly acquiring more photos to digitize. The process has taken several months and interim archivist Daniel Klotz says this is just a start.
“Our goal is to make the collections more accessible,” Klotz said. “With this project, anyone can find a photograph by typing in keywords. So if someone is interested in what student life looked like in the 1920s, they could click on ‘students’ and see all the photos of come up.”
The UCA collection has dozens of categories which include buildings, group and individual shots, residence halls, music, athletics and several others. Klotz scans each photo, some of which are on glass plates, and adds captions and metadata to each image.
One photo from 1910 shows a handful of students working in a field where Donaghey Hall now stands.
“Back in the early years of the university, students grew vegetables for consumption,” Klotz said. “You can see the women are in long skirts and the men are in suits. Agriculture was something all students had to learn because they were training to be teachers. Having that kind of knowledge is important for the would-be teachers to pass on to their students.”
The UCA yearbook “The Scroll” has been digitally available for several years, and Klotz hopes to make improvements to that collection by improving the search options and putting the yearbook on the same platform as the archived photos for the library.
“We plan to reupload in higher resolution and make it text searchable. So if someone wanted to find their parents or anyone, they could just search by name,” Klotz said. “I like being able to share Arkansas’ history and the history of UCA with people on campus and people around the world. We get requests for these photos sometimes from all over the country. My coworker just filled a request from Sweden. What we do in archives has an international reach.”
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