LR Cultural Touchstone: Deborah Baldwin

9 Deborah BaldwinAs a historian, arts patron, and administrator, Deborah Baldwin has had a hand in shaping Little Rock’s cultural scene for nearly thirty years.   As Chair of the UALR History Department from 1986 to 1992, she lead the department as it created the History Institute which sponsors the “Evenings with History” lecture series.  At the time it was started, it was one of the few lecture series in Little Rock (if not the only one).

A member of the UALR faculty since 1980, Baldwin is a specialist in modern Mexican history with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published a book on the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and a variety of articles, primarily on Mexican social history topic.

As a History Department faculty member, she has lead the Public History seminar. This program has documented the history of several Little Rock cultural institutions over the years including the Arkansas Arts Center, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Museum of Discovery.  The Public History program has trained many of the museum professionals working in Little Rock today.  The Central High Museum, a private forerunner of the National Park Service Central High National Historic Site Visitor Center, was lead in a large part by persons associated with the UALR Public History Program.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Baldwin led the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  In that capacity, she oversaw the visual and performing arts programming at UALR.  Under her leadership, the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre & Dance were all revitalized.  As a part of this, she ensured that cutting-edge technology was being integrated to arts curriculum.  She also led efforts to upgrade the performance facilities.  During her tenure as Dean, the College also played leading roles in the commemoration of the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the integration of Central High School, the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, and the “Life Interrupted” exhibit which highlighted the Japanese-American internment experience in Arkansas.  She also oversaw the creation of Finale!, an event each spring which celebrates the arts in Little Rock and honors arts patrons.

With the creation of the Arkansas Studies Institute (a collaboration between UALR and Central Arkansas Library System), Baldwin took on additional duties as UALR’s supervisor on the project.

In 2014, UALR underwent a campus-wide administrative and academic reorganization.  In conjunction with that, Baldwin became Associate Provost for UALR Collections and Archives.  In that capacity she oversees the campus library system, Center for Arkansas History and Culture and the Sequoyah National Research Center.  She continues to teach in the Department of History.

She is a past member of the board of the Arkansas Humanities Council and the MacArthur Military History Museum Commission.