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The University of Texas at Austin


Message from Director Don Carleton

October 2016

Dr. Don Carleton, Executive Directory of the Briscoe Center

Over the summer, the Briscoe Center sponsored KUT's project, Out of the Blue: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting. The project included an hour-long radio documentary and five-part reporting series (both of which aired over the summer), as well as an interactive website and two community events. The first of those events, Recounting History, occurred earlier this week.

The second event is next week. On Wednesday, November 2, KLRU will host us for "Shots Fired: The Ongoing Repercussions of the UT Tower Shooting," a community forum about the debate on gun rights and gun control since 1966. The forum will be moderated by veteran journalist Judy Maggio with panelists including Laura Rice, producer of Out of the Blue; UT history and public policy professor Jeremy Suri; and Megan Gilbride of the award-winning documentary Tower.

RSVP is required, which you can do here:

Out of the Blue's project archives are now housed at the Briscoe Center. Those archives include 90 first-person accounts of the UT Tower shooting, as well as transcripts, correspondence and ephemera. Most of the materials are housed on a hard drive, currently on display at the LBJ Library as part of the center's Treasures exhibit.

You may be asking, why share a hard drive in an exhibit full of rare letters, maps, photographs and material culture items? First, like any other treasure in the exhibit, the hard drive contains important and unique historical evidence, especially the oral history interviews from survivors of the shooting. Second, it is representative of the changing nature of historical preservation. Much of the material we receive today is "born digital," which presents its own world of challenges and opportunities for archivists and researchers.

To close, I'd like to thank KUT for all their hard work in completing this project. It's an exciting partnership that we've brokered, and I hope we can team up again in the future. Projects like Out of the Blue (and indeed our former collaboration, Forged in Flames, related to the 2011 Labor Day wildfires in Central Texas) create both first-class public programming, and important new resources for scholars and students. The connections between journalism and history have always been close, and I'm glad to see what KUT and the center can achieve when we work together to fulfill our teaching missions—both on campus and in the community. 

Don Carleton, Ph.D.
Executive Director
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History