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Bronco alum makes the past visible

Brooklyn Allen looking at photo slides

For the last 50 years, employees and volunteers at the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office have photographed Idaho landscapes, historic sites and events. The result: thousands of images spanning the state, including everything from battlefields to archaeological sites to notable buildings.

The problem, said Dan Everhart, state outreach historian, is that many of the older photographs were in slide form — essentially unusable for research in the digital sphere.

In stepped Brooklynn Allen (BA, history, 2022) from Salt Lake City, Utah. Allen served an internship at the preservation office and took on the task of not only scanning the slides in the state collection, but writing descriptions and cataloging each image, a process that required her to become an expert on architectural styles — and to do it quickly.

Allen was so good at her work, “taking relative chaos and creating order,” Everhart said, that the state hired her after graduation. So far, Allen has scanned and cataloged more than 12,000 images, making them available for researchers for the first time.

Allen, who earned a leadership certificate through the School of Public Service during her time at Boise State, said she loves the idea that scholars will benefit from her work.

The preservation office’s internship program with Boise State has been mutually beneficial for students and the agency, which has also hosted anthropology/archaeology interns.