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UH Special Collections Welcomes New Department Head

Department News

As the fall semester ushers in a new class of Cougars, the University of Houston Special Collections also welcomes some new faces.  Among them is Christian Kelleher who has recently joined the University of Houston Libraries as the new Head of Special Collections.

Christian Kelleher, pictured here at the Benson Collection as part of an interview with StoryCorps.

Christian Kelleher, pictured here at the Benson Collection as part of an interview with StoryCorps.

Kelleher comes to the University of Houston having previously served as Archivist and Assistant Head Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin’s Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection for over a decade.  There, he worked to expand exhibition and instruction programs, helping to establish the Black Diaspora Special Collections program with the Warfield Center for African & African American Studies and building collaborative programs with the UT Law School’s Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, assisting with the Papers of George Lister.  In addition, working with the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Department of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies, he began a series of archives workshops, including presenting to over 100 participants in the meeting of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa.

Beginning in 2008 he also served as Project Manager for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative.  Among other duties in this role, he coordinated efforts to build and maintain the Genocide Archive of Rwanda (GAR) and the Digital Archive of the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive (AHPN) on a post-custodial model.  The GAR contains audio, video, photographs, testimonies, and more, seeking to prevent future mass atrocity and genocide through education, while the AHPN seeks to make available for remote study and scholarly research a digital iteration of over 10 million documents, the originals of which were discovered in 2005 and remain under the stewardship of the Guatemalan people.

Kelleher brings with him experience in management, collection development, digital projects, grant projects, and outreach.  He holds Master’s degrees in Journalism and Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin, is a Certified Archivist, and has professional experience working in multiple languages, including French and Spanish.  In addition to his experience at the Benson Latin American Collection, Kelleher has amassed experience working as an archivist in both the public and private sector.  Working with History Associates Incorporated, he has consulted for the National Geographic Channel, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Park Service, among others.  He accrued experience in nonprofit development while working at the literary publisher Graywolf Press, and even served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Guinea where he oversaw initiatives aimed at resource conservation and environmental education.

Kelleher now looks forward to continue building on the work being done at the University of Houston Special Collections, supporting the teaching and research activities of the University and serving as a resource for the scholarly community and general public.  Specifically, Kelleher aims to use his previous experience with high-impact online archives to help build and shape digital environments that will continue to introduce the rich variety and research potential of our primary sources to an international, scholarly community.  In doing so, Kelleher seeks to reflect the diversity of the city and the University not only in our physical archival collections, but in our online presence as well.  In addition, he seeks to extend our reach beyond the reading room walls, expanding our vibrant and engaging exhibitions and instruction partnerships, further integrating Special Collections into the life of the University, its students and faculty, as well as community partners.

Please, join us in welcoming Christian Kelleher as the new Head of Special Collections at the University of Houston!

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