80°F
weather icon Clear

UNLV project looks for gold in family photos

Sometimes the best chroniclers of history are just regular people armed with a Brownie — or a Polaroid, an Instamatic, a 35mm point-and-shoot or, these days, a digital camera or cellphone — taking family photos.

The photo of kids playing catch in a vacant lot that’s now a mall. The long-closed store visible in the shot of a downtown parade. Even the cheesy photo of a sibling doing that fingers-behind-the-head thing during a childhood visit to a Las Vegas hotel that doesn’t exist anymore.

All sorts of historically important stuff might be found in family photos, and that’s the notion behind “Snapshots of History: 1960s-1990s,” in which Southern Nevadans are being asked to scour their own photos taken between 1960 and 1999 for potential archive-worthy keepers.

Then, from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Springs Preserve, experts from UNLV Libraries Special Collections & Archives will examine residents’ photos, slides and negatives from that time period and digitize some of them for inclusion in UNLV’s archives.

The goal is to augment UNLV’s archives with photos from a photographically underrepresented era when development kicked into high gear and population grew dramatically.

“You’re talking about a town of less than 500,000 people to a town of almost 2 million by the time that period ends,” says Aaron Mayes, curator for visual material at UNLV Special Collections & Archives.

But, Mayes says, “a lot of that time period we don’t have covered well” in the archives. While professional photos — those taken by, for example, public relations people and newspaper photographers — tell some of the story, the hope is that amateur photographers have captured “neighborhood moments in Las Vegas during that growth period that help us fill out the story of how Las Vegas grew up.”

“We’re asking people: Do you have those photos?” says Jennifer Shell, coordinator of educational media services for Vegas PBS, which is managing Saturday’s event. Of particular interest are photos of properties that since have been demolished, housing developments that were under construction during the period, and images of what Las Vegas life was like during those decades.

In addition to now-gone landmarks that depict architecture of the time, submissions might center around “what people are wearing, what cars they were driving and what the marquees looked like,” she says.

“If you were here during that time, you might say, ‘Before that mall, we would play baseball in that park, or ‘We would always swim in this part of the creek,’ ” she says. “We’d love to have ones where the building is no longer there, or there has been such a dramatic change that you wouldn’t recognize that corner or that landscape.

“We also hope to capture any oral history. So it might be that somebody wants to share a story of something that happened during that time.”

The project is being funded by a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Shell says, and the purpose is “to reach into the community and build awareness of the tremendous growth that has happened in Las Vegas.”

Not all of the photos, slides and negatives brought in during the event will be digitized, but the first 50 people whose photos are selected will receive a free 8-gigabyte flash drive loaded with their digitized photos. All photos will be returned at the event.

Contact John Przybys at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Motorcyclist killed in crash in southwest Las Vegas - Video
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Smaka confirmed a motorcyclist was killed in a crash with another vehicle at Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway just before 9 a.m., Monday, May 25, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas man runs 100-mile marathon for veterans on Memorial Day - Video
Pete Madredes ran a 100-mile marathon at Exploration Peak Park in Las Vegas to raise money for Mission 22, a nonprofit that supports veterans with mental illness. He started Sunday morning, May 24, and ended Memorial Day morning. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working at home with kids
Educators Jessica Houchins and Christopher Houchins discuss their work life merged with their parenting life during quarantine, at their home in Henderson on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
6.5 earthquake in western Nevada - Video
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake damaged U.S. Highway 95, which was closed west of Tonopah near Coaldale, on Friday, May 15, 2020. (Nye County Sheriff's Department)
Southern Nevada Health District discusses contact tracing
Devin Raman, senior disease investigator at SNHD, explains how contact tracing works, noting how local clusters of disease are tracked.
Cowabunga Bay Prepares For Patrons
The management and staff at Cowabunga Bay in hopes of opening soon are implementing coronavirus safety measures to ensure patrons are happy and safe.
Pickleball courts coming to Sunset Park - Video
Clark County officials broke ground Tuesday on a championship pickleball tournament complex at Sunset Park, expected to open by next spring. (Clark County)
Great-grandmother meets great-granddaughter through window
A global pandemic couldn't keep June Watkins from meeting her 1-month-old great-granddaughter, even if it had to be through a window. Christie Jensen, the baby's mother, brought together four generations of women with her mother, DeeDee Jensen, when they brought the baby to meet Watkins for the first time ahead of Mother's Day on Sunday.
Firefighters deliver free pizza to coronavirus testers - VIDEO
The Professional Firefighters of Nevada delivered free pizza and soft drinks to Nevada National Guard members and health care workers who are performing COVID-19 testing at the UNLV School of Medicine. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate fatal crash - VIDEO
One person died at University Medical Center after a two-vehicle crash at West Russell and South Fort Apache roads, Thursday morning, May 7. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Southern Nevada Health District COVID-19 update
Southern Nevada Health District staff conduct a video briefing to provide updates about the public health agency’s COVID-19 response in Clark County.
Greg Zanis, the cross maker, has died - VIDEO
Greg Zanis was the Illinois carpenter who built and erected the 58 simple white crosses in the shadow of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that turned into a focal point for a city’s grief after the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting in 2017. He died on Monday, May 4, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seniors, people with disabilities getting special shopping hour at Costco - VIDEO
Costco will implement new rules Monday that, in addition to requiring face masks, will allow seniors 60 and older to shop from 9-10 a.m. weekdays. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson Coalition for Responsible Government protest
Henderson Coalition for Responsible Government protest. (Julie Wootton-Greener/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Desert Oasis students celebrate senior prom with parade - VIDEO
Desert Oasis High School’s senior prom was supposed to be held Saturday, but it was canceled when schools statewide were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson winery reacts to Sisolak's economic plan - VIDEO
Governor Sisolak's reopening plan is easier said than done for the only winery in Clark County. Grape Expectations is trying to figure out how to open up shop when they are three businesses in one. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Locals rush to reopened tennis courts
Daniel Nunez and Sarah Germain made immediate plans to go to their local tennis court, Darling Tennis Center, when they received an email that the facility would open on May 1.
Allegiant Air employees deliver snacks and drinks to food pantry - VIDEO
Allegiant Air donated food items to the Vegas Community Pantry in Las Vegas. The snack and drinks are commissary items that Allegiant planned to serve to passengers who were flying to Las Vegas for March Madness. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Health care workers protest over unsafe working conditions - VIDEO
Healthcare workers from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) gather at Southern Hills Hospital to protest unsafe working conditions at Las Vegas HCA-affiliated hospitals and demand that OSHA intervene. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
COVID-19 Q&A - VIDEO
You had questions, and we've got the answers! Renee Summerour sits down with Dr. Brian Labus, epidemiologist with the UNLV School of Public Health and member of the governor's medical advisory team, and RJ health reporter Mary Hynes to answer viewer questions regarding the coronavirus spread in Nevada. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal) THIS WEEK WE COVERED A LOT OF TOPICS: 1. POSTPONED MEDICAL/DENTAL PROCEDURES 2. GOV. SISOLASK ANNOUNCES TO EXTEND STAY-AT-HOME ORDER 3. THIS THE STAY AT HOME ORDER PART OF THE "ROAD TO RECOVERY PLAN"? 4. WILL THERE BE A MASK REQUIREMENT STATEWIDE? 5. DOES WEATHER PLAN A ROLE IN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19? 6. WHERE IS NEVADA THIS WEEK ON ANTIBODY TESTING? 7. MYTH: AIR CONDITIONER CAN CAUSE CORONAVIRUS 8. IS IT SAFE TO GO BACK OUTSIDE? BEACHES? HIKING? ETC?
Fire at strip mall in east Las Vegas - VIDEO
Firefighters battle a blaze at Nellis Plaza at 1000 N. Nellis Blvd. in east Las Vegas, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Hall marks Israeli Independence Day - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Hall’s lights turned blue and white Tuesday night to mark Israel’s 72nd Independence Day. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lines move quickly through CCSD food distribution sites - VIDEO
Individuals pick up packaged meals from Clark County School District food distribution sites on Tuesday morning, April 28, 2020: Basic Academy of International Studies in Henderson and Kelly Elementary School in Las Vegas. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mobile dance party to spread encouragement during coronavirus pandemic - VIDEO
The Clark County Parks and Recreation Department outfitted a van with speakers and a DJ to to blast music through local neighborhoods for a socially distant dance party and passed out kits with school supplies, books and hygiene items. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marriage License Bureau reopens after coronavirus closure - VIDEO
The Clark County Marriage License Bureau at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas reopens Monday, April 24, 2020. The bureau closed March 17 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sunrise Hospital releases man who recovered from coronavirus - VIDEO
Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center celebrated a milestone on Saturday, April 25 — the discharge to date of more than 50 COVID-19 patients. Employees marked the occasion by clapping and cheering as patient David Reifer was pushed down a hallway and out of the Las Vegas hospital in a wheelchair. (Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center)
Protest promotes recall of Gov. Steve Sisolak - VIDEO
A group known as Fight for Nevada and its supporters gathered outside of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building to protest and promote the recall of Gov. Steve Sisolak. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pair Create Nevada Light Display
David and Mason Koch designed and erected a solar light display atop Black Mountain of a Nevada outline with heart inside for community strength during the novel coronavirus pandemic. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neighborhood rallies behind grad amid the coronavirus lockdown
Riley Lynn Thacker's mom put a sign in their yard to congratulate her daughter completing her senior year and neighbors followed suit. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide after a man was found deceased in the parking lot of a strip mall at 9640 W. Tropicana Ave. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Homicide briefing
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate homicide
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST