Document Type


Publication Date



UNO’s status as a Metropolitan University informs much of its character. UNO’s serious focus on community engagement reflects this and aligns well with the work of my department, Archives and Special Collections (ASC) in UNO Libraries.

Until a decade ago, our collections were not representative of our communities. When my boss came on board in 2014, she was the first archivist to serve as department head. I came the following year. She brought a fresh perspective with a desire to collect more broadly than the collections from white, cis, male, wealthy donors that were typical. Obviously, we need some of those collections to be representative of our communities, but there is balance to be found and there were quite a few voices missing from our collections. We want students to think of us as a responsive, inclusive space in which they see themselves, rather literally, and not a mysterious, restrictive, slightly scary space.

These days, we are home to the Queer Omaha Archives, an umbrella collection of collections from LGBTQ+ creators or with an LGBTQ focus. We have also an increasing amount of collections and material from and related to Black, Latinx, and Indigenous organizations and individuals on campus and in the surrounding area.


This was presented at the National Humanities Conference in Los Angeles as part of a panel with three other faculty other colleges at UNO on a panel called, "Public Witnessing as Catalyst for Community Repair: Omaha, a Case Study."

The author holds the copyright to this work, any reuse and permissions must be obtained from the author directly.

2022-Nov-Schwartz-NHC.pptx (10086 kB)