American Heritage Center’s director resigns

(Photo taken from UW website) The American Heritage Center sits peaking up behind some trees. The AHC is a resource for the state as well as UW students.

UW’s American Heritage Center Director, Bridget Burke, resigns and is set to complete her final day of work Friday, Dec. 8.

“You know, I haven’t asked her too much about why, but with how bad morale has been on campus and it’s been tough to be an employee through all of the budget cuts,” Molly Marcusse, Assistant Archivist at the UW American Heritage Center, said. “I’ve just been trying to feel positive and congratulate any of my colleges who are moving on to something else.”

Director Burk has accepted a position at the University of Oklahoma to be the Associate Dean for Special Collections at the University of Oklahoma libraries.

“I think they had offered three times to her,” senior office associate, Matthew Troyanek, said. “They were chasing her.”

Marcusse said, “For Bridget going from director to associate dean is a step up and deserves to be celebrated. I’m excited for her.”

When asked for an interview, Director Burke declined an interview but did express that working at the American Heritage Center was an honor.

Faculty members throughout the American Heritage Center are able to comment on Burke’s performance and involvement.

“She has a really wonderful down-to earth way about her and she really encouraged us to do something we hadn’t really done, before she called it storytelling, a lot of people are doing it,” Leslie Waggener, associate archivist in processing the UW American Heritage Center, said. “But we hadn’t really thought about it here. She wanted us to emphasize telling our story, what we do, what we offer, about archives. Not just what we have but what we do.”

After her final day, the American Heritage Center will be under the temporary direction of Ivan Gaetz, Dean of University Libraries. Those at the American Heritage Center have high hopes for the future, under his direction and beyond.

“From what I’ve understood, they’re [the American Heritage Center Board of Advisors] looking at the ultimate big picture,” said Troyanek. “They’re looking at archive institutions and how we collaborate with each other. Not only in our community but on campus, around the state, nationally and internationally.”

The American Heritage Center has been a host of international researchers and also received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award. They look to continue to hold themselves to this high standard in the future under new administration.

“At the end of the day our mission is to provide access to our materials, they are held in the public trust,” said Marcusse.

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