The UNLV Department of History has created the Reid Public History Institute (RPHI) to expand the study of the histories of labor, immigration, land use, industry, and the environment in Nevada and the surrounding region.
The institute is a re-envisioned version of the former UNLV Public Lands Institute after its leaders recognized the need to broaden its mission to include the study of Nevada public history in addition to public lands.
Named for the late U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, the institute will enhance ongoing public history projects and community collaborations while providing new opportunities for researchers and graduate students in history and the College of Liberal Arts.
“Throughout his career, Sen. Reid supported critical historic preservation projects in Nevada and the American West with a special interest in the relationship between history and the environment on public lands,” said Andy Kirk, director of the institute and professor of history.
“The new institute is dedicated to continuing this work, drawing from environmental history, historic preservation, and public history in support of innovative intermountain and southwest history research initiatives.”
Reid’s support was essential to securing a $200,000 Saving America’s Treasures Grant for the Walking Box Ranch and funding for several public lands/public history projects in Nevada and California, Kirk added. Other preservation projects included The Mojave Road in the Mojave National Preserve and a range of cultural landscapes that capture historic relationships between people and place in the Mojave Desert.
RPHI is supported by the Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West and Public History Endowment in the College of Liberal Arts with additional funding from other endowments and private donors.
History Ph.D. student Analiesa Delgado is the inaugural Henry and Jessica Schuck Public History Graduate Fellow in the Reid Institute. Funded by a generous private gift, her fellowship centers on Walking Box Ranch, where recent outreach efforts included opening the ranch up to the public for the first time in 10 years. The event drew considerable community support and media coverage.
Delgado’s work also builds on key partnerships with the Nevada State Museum, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Land Management. "I’m able to integrate my academic and public history training and complete collaborative projects that take the study of history beyond classrooms and textbooks. I gained experience and established connections with agency and community partners in Nevada that will be pivotal to my career as a historian," she said.