Special Collections & Archives' Preservation Project to Document Dec. 6 Shooting

Woman storing items from memorial into boxes
Sarah Jones, head of technical services for UNLV Special Collections & Archives, sorts memorial materials left on campus. UNLV Libraries has launched a preservation project to document the Dec. 6 shooting at UNLV. The initiative will include the collection of various documentation, stories, and artifacts, including objects and messages left at impromptu memorials placed around campus. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Special Collections & Archives)

UNLV Special Collections & Archives is launching a preservation initiative to document the tragic Dec. 6, 2023, shooting on UNLV’s Maryland Parkway campus.

“As archivists, we preserve records and artifacts that will enable our community to share its story and future users to bear witness to history,” said Sarah Quigley, director of Special Collections & Archives. “This initiative has been established to help us document the experiences of our campus community, remember the victims and the impact they had on the lives of their students and colleagues, and learn how the university and our wider community responded in the aftermath.”

Working with the Office of the President, the team has already begun collecting the materials left at impromptu memorials at the entrance to campus on Maryland Parkway and near Pida Plaza.

Materials will be assessed for unique and enduring historical value documenting the mass shooting and its aftermath. This includes the operations, activities, and procedures of organizations and individuals associated with the shooting and its aftermath; the lives of the victims; and the experiences of survivors and witnesses.

The collection may include such items as:

  • Artifacts left at public memorials, such as cards, posters, and photographs
  • Artistic responses, such as poetry, music, and drawings
  • Audio and video recordings, such as news coverage, documentaries, and witness recordings
  • Condolence/sympathy/support letters and cards
  • Correspondence (including emails)
  • Memorial programs and artifacts
  • News clippings
  • Photographs
  • Reports
  • Scrapbooks
  • University records, reports, newsletters, policies, social media, and websites

Materials accepted for the collection will be professionally preserved and will be made available for research in Special Collections & Archives on the third floor of Lied Library. Organic matter, such as flowers, will be turned into mulch by UNLV's Community Garden.

Oral History Project

In addition to the preservation work, the initiative will also include an oral history project under the direction of Claytee White, director of the UNLV Oral History Research Center. The project will collect histories from students, faculty, staff, first responders and others, related to their experiences during the shooting. Details on the project, including information on how to participate, are being developed and will be announced in the future. 

To inquire about donating materials to the collections, contact Sarah Quigley or Aaron Mayes, visual materials curator.

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