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Organization name: West Kentucky Community and Technical College
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West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Paducah, KY 42001-6774)
Amy Sullivan (Project Director: April 2018 to February 2022)

Preservation Assistance Grants
Preservation and Access

[Media coverage]

$6,000 (approved)
$5,948 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 3/31/2020

Store, Access, Value, and Engage (SAVE)

A preservation assessment of the college’s archives, along with the purchase of preservation supplies and staff participation in workshops on the fundamentals of preservation. Collections include over 300 books and 92 linear feet of documents, scrapbooks, photographs, sound recordings, administrative records, ledgers, and artifacts mainly documenting the history of the college, founded in the early 1900s as a training school for African American teachers.  Of particular note are the personal papers of Robert Gordon Matheson, president of Paducah Junior College from 1936 to 1968 and a leader in Paducah’s African American community.

In 1909, Dr. D. H. Anderson began digging the foundation of the first building for West Kentucky Industrial College in Paducah, Kentucky, establishing one of the first African American teacher training colleges in the south, paving the way for what later became a preeminent community college, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC). The College has a rich history from its previous institutions documented through photos, scrapbooks, and memorabilia, which are unfortunately inaccessible to the public. Items have been exposed to unfavorable conditions, including flooding, temperature fluctuations, and storage issues, creating an urgent need to preserve. Continued assessment by a professional consultant and staff training on proper archiving techniques are crucial to preserve and showcase items from one of the first African American schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.