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Stan Lee Exhibit to open in May at the American Heritage Center

Stan Lee
Stan Lee Papers, Edited Jordan Uplinger / WPR
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
Pictures from the Stan Lee Papers Collection at the American History Center

The American Heritage Center (AHS) is currently in the works to open an exhibit honoring the former comic book writer and Marvel creator, Stan Lee. The exhibit will be free to the public and will run from May 1st to November 1st.

A former director of the AHC by the name of Gene Gressley, befriended Lee 45 years ago. That friendship ended up convincing Lee to archive with AHC from the early 1980s to 2011, when Lee’s health entered a decline.

Lee ended up sending 200 boxes worth of content to AHC. The collection itself is 126.96 cubic feet of material, including fan mail, comic book drafts, personal correspondence, magazine articles about Lee and more.

The AHC also holds the pilot episode of a film project Lee tried in the 1950s. Lee wanted to create a man-on-the-street style interview show, where he would talk about current events and politics with students on university campuses. The AHC hopes putting lesser-known aspects of Lee’s life on display, such as his earlier passion projects will give the public a deeper look into his life, beyond just his Marvel fame.

“While the collection does include a lot of his work with Marvel Comics, this is his personal papers,” said Robert Kelly, an archive specialist with the AHC. “That gives a lot of information about [Lee’s] outreach for education and his views towards politics. It really broadens the scope of how we view him, because this is stuff that's not typically talked about.”

The exhibition itself is student-led, with three undergrad students hired as interns for the AHC. navigating and curating the large collection left by Lee. Additionally, the interns are hosting a blog, leading up to the opening of the exhibit. The blog puts Stan Lee’s relationship with Wyoming in the spotlight, giving readers more insight into the relationship between the Cowboy state and the former comic book writer. They plan to release two more posts before the exhibit opens.

“They have put in a tremendous amount of work to build this exhibit,” said Kelly of the involved students.

Jordan Uplinger was born in NJ but has traveled since 2013 for academic study and work in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He gained experience in a multitude of areas, including general aviation, video editing, and political science. In 2021, Jordan's travels brought him to find work with the Wyoming Conservation Corps as a member of Americorps. After a season with WCC, Jordan continued his Americorps service with the local non-profit, Feeding Laramie Valley. His deep interest in the national discourse on class, identity, American politics and the state of material conditions globally has led him to his current internship with Wyoming Public Radio and NPR.

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