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Graduating Public History Student Preserves Arkansas Heritage with Innovative Website Project

Armando Arellano will graduate in May 2024 with a master's degree in public history. Photo by Gracelyn Johnson.
Armando Arellano will graduate in May 2024 with a master's degree in public history. Photo by Gracelyn Johnson.

A graduating UA Little Rock student is sharing his love of history with the creation of a website that documents historic preservation efforts in Arkansas.

Armando Arellano, of Little Rock, is graduating May 11 with a master’s degree in public history. With unwavering dedication and a passion for heritage conservation, Arellano has built a comprehensive website cataloging historic markers across the state.

While earning his master’s degree, Arellano has spent two years working as a graduate assistant with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (A.H.P.P.). The program works with people across the state and beyond to identify, protect, and promote historic places that tell the story of Arkansas.

It was during his graduate assistantship that Arellano discovered a passion for historic preservation and decided to create his website project, “Historical Markers in Arkansas,” where the public can learn more about the hundreds of historic markers in Arkansas and where they are located.

“I saw this project as an additional hobby as well as a way to help out members of the public who are interested in learning more about the state’s historic markers,” Arellano said. “I am grateful to Professor Kristin Mann, who served as my thesis advisor and provided me with much assistance and guidance on writing structures and methods. The same gratitude goes to Travis Ratermann, a member of the A.H.P.P. who is my other thesis advisor, for the same reasons.”

Arellano began his academic journey at UA Little Rock in 2018, earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a certificate in workplace Spanish when he first graduated from the university in 2022.

“UA Little Rock was affordable,” Arellano said. “I can still live with my family, and I was very close to the organizations with historic archives that I wanted to study. I’ve had one good journey of being a student at UA Little Rock.”

While at UA Little Rock, Arellano chose to study public history because he believes it’s important to preserve this knowledge and share it with the public.

“I believe that public history relies not just on reading books,” Arellano said. “Public history is about interacting with communities through oral history and other interactions that can be remembered. History cannot be manipulated or based on bias. History is meant to be neutral for all of us to learn.”