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Finding Aid to the Women of the West Museum Institutional Archives MSA.39
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Preferred citation
  • Arrangement
  • Processing history
  • Scope and contents
  • Administrative history note
  • Acquisition

  • Title: Women of the West Institutional Archives
    Identifier/Call Number: MSA.39
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Autry Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 72.55 Linear feet (41 boxes, 2 oversized models)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1991-2001
    Date (inclusive): 1986-2001
    Abstract: The Women of the West Museum, founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1991, was the first museum in the United States dedicated to the history of women of all cultures in the American West. In 2002, the museum merged with the Autry National Center, creating a physical location for the Women of the West institution. These archives document the Women of the West Museum’s institutional history from 1986-2001, which includes files related to administration, collection development, development and fundraising, exhibits, and finances.
    creator: Women of the West Museum.


    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org.


    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred citation

    Women of the West Museum Institutional Archives, 1986-2001, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MSA.39; [folder number] [folder title][date].


    • Series 1: Administrative Files, 1986-1999
    • Series 2: Collections Development Files, 1988-2001
    • Series 3: Development Files, 1991-2001
    • Series 4: Exhibits Files, 1995-2001
    • Series 5: Financial Records, 1991-1996

    Processing history

    Processing and finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Project Archivist, June 1, 2012, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    Scope and contents

    The institutional archives of the Women of the West Museum span from 1986-2001, and includes materials that document the operations and growth of the Museum. The collection is divided into the following five series:
    Series 1: Administrative Records include central communication files, public relations material, and Board of Trustee files. This includes Board of Trustee reports and communications, correspondence, public relations papers, newsletters, and annual letters of solicitation.
    Material in Series 2: Collection Development Files, relate to the development of the Museum's object collection and includes items such as oral histories, films, and dissertations.
    Series 3: Development Files includes material related to Museum donors and fundraising efforts as well as the development and envisioning of the physical building. Material related to developing the building include museum design research notes, architectural proposals, and museum models.
    Series 4: Exhibit Files include research material for proposed exhibits.
    Series 5: Financial Records include banking and investments records, files related to monetary contributions and pledges, expense reports, and tax documents.
    The collection is predominately made up of paper material. Other formats within the collection also include cassette tapes, video cassette (VHS) tapes, floppy discs, three-dimensional museum models, and photographs.

    Administrative history note

    Founded in 1991 in Boulder, Colorado, the Women of the West Museum was the first museum in the nation dedicated to the history of women of all cultures in the American West. Committed to education outside traditional museum walls, the Women of the West Museum broke new ground with its innovative use of online exhibitions, community partnerships, women's history trails, and art-based humanities programs.
    In 2002, the Women of the West Museum merged with the Autry National Center, creating a gathering place for programs, exhibitions, collections, research, and education dedicated to diverse women's experiences in the American West. The goal is to gain a new understanding, not simply of what women have done but of why it matters for the West—past, present, and future.
    The merger with the Autry reflected a continuation of its original spirit, while providing a physical home in Los Angeles to continue its vision through new exhibitions and programs integrated into an overall vision of the West. Taken from the Autry National website 2012 May 24, http://theautry.org/research/women-of-the-west.


    Women of the West Museum merged with the Autry Museum of Western Heritage on March 6, 2002.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Autry National Center.
    Archives -- Administration
    Audio cassettes
    Dissertations, Academic
    Documentary films
    Financial records
    Fund raising
    Museums -- West (U.S.)
    Museums and women
    Oral histories
    Women -- West (U.S.) -- Biography
    Women -- West (U.S.) -- History