Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum archive Xcel Energy’s historical collection

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Thanks to two West Texas A&M student interns and WT’s Center for the Study of the American West, Xcel Energy now have material documenting their history preserved at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, according to WT’s Office of Communication and Marketing (CSAW).

Beginning in Fall 2019, CSAW interns Sierra Villareal and Daisa Brown, sorted 35 boxes of Xcel Energy’s archived documents, and its predecessor company, Southwestern Public Service Co., PPHM stated.

“I gained a better understanding of how complex power companies can be and what goes into how we get our electricity, which we tend to take for granted,” Villarreal said. “I learned a great deal about the work of archiving materials. This is the best thing I have done in my undergraduate career at WT. If you want to understand history, you have to understand how that history gets made thanks to what documents are saved, and how they’re saved.”

Wes Reeves of Xcel Energy and Alex Hunt, Director of CSAW, said they collaborated with Villareal and Brown to establish an important collection for the archives of PPHM.

“I’m thrilled that CSAW could facilitate this project. It helped Xcel Energy preserve materials which may otherwise have been lost,” Hunt said. “It also provided PPHM a significant new collection for its archive. And most importantly, it provided some WT students an interesting job through which they learned about our regional history and the importance of archival preservation work.”

Wes Reeves explained the importance of the collection and the reasoning behind archiving the material.

“This isn’t a dead and dusty archive – it’s a valuable source of information that we call upon often, Reeves said. “As people come and go, we tend to lose institutional knowledge about our system and our communities, but the archive always remembers. And as we move into a new energy future, it’s vital to have an understanding of how we got here.”

Warren Stricker, Director of PPHM Research Center, said the Xcel Energy collection will provide valuable material to the public.

““I think the records could be used in many ways, such as a study of technology, represented by the facilities and equipment used in delivering electricity; for an examination of design, as seen in the buildings and other structures built by the utility; for a history of corporate structure as it evolved over the last century; and, of course, as a source for the history of utilities in general and Xcel Energy and its predecessor companies in particular.”

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