What's in your garage?

What's in your garage?

The UNLV University Libraries Special Collections are actively seeking donations of historical materials about the Jewish community in Southern Nevada. We are dedicated to ensuring the long-term preservation of and access to historical, primary source materials about our region.

What we are looking for:

  • Organizational records: annual reports, meeting minutes, letters, etc.
  • Personal papers: Letters, diaries, scrapbooks, speeches, etc.
  • Photographs and videos that depict important events, people, buildings, or activities of the Jewish community, especially photos from before 1970.

We want evidence of:

  • The history of the local Jewish community: How did it grow and develop? How did members interact? What is the Jewish community of Southern Nevada? Is there evidence of activities, beliefs, values, and culture? What is the typical experience of a Jewish person in Southern Nevada?
  • The functions and history of a Jewish organization: How did it start? Who was involved? What did it do? How did it change?
  • The impact of an individual: What important and lasting impacts have Jewish individuals made in the Jewish community, or on the development Southern Nevada?

What happens to donated materials?

  • Materials are grouped into collections based on who created or donated them (e.g. the Jay Sarno papers or the Jewish Federation records). Materials are carefully organized, rehoused, and described.
  • A collection guide is written to describe the collection and its creator. The collection guide is posted online so researchers may discover the collection.
  • Selected materials from the collection are digitized and uploaded into our online content management system. The items are cataloged so they are widely discoverable on the Internet. 
  • Digitized materials will be included in the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project web portal, and will be discoverable within context of related historical content about Southern Nevada Jewish history. The web portal will be organized by themes, people, congregations, and organizations.

We digitize materials to make them accessible online. It is a labor-intensive process. Digitization is not always a viable method of long-term preservation for many kinds of materials, however. The best way to ensure that an item will be usable more than 100 years from now is to donate the physical original to Special Collections. We understand that not all donors are willing to donate original, physical items to Special Collections yet. In these cases, Special Collections will carefully select a few items of great historical importance from donors to digitize and include in the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Donors will still be encouraged to donate their collections in the future so Special Collections may help preserve their legacies more comprehensively for future generations to study and appreciate.

For more information, please email emily.lapworth@unlv.edu if you are interested in donating a collection.

What's in your garage?


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Because we are no longer actively fundraising for the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project, we are directing all related donations to our Oral History Research Center for the pursuit of other meaningful oral history projects.


With help from
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services