Heritage House is a UTEP hidden gem

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Joel Molina

Outside look of the building known as the Heritage House.

Meagan Elizabeth García, Arts & Culture Editor

Nestled in a grassy corner of the UTEP campus is a small white building that houses decades worth of the institution’s history. From “flowsheets” to merchandise to mascots, Heritage House is stocked with multitudes of memorabilia for the student body and general public to view. 

Located on a hill just behind the Student Union Building stands a building that has served many purposes over the years. The bungalow was originally built by the first Dean of the School to be a home for him and his wife but was eventually passed down and continued to be a home for administrators until 1960. It later functioned as an office space for various labs, programs and classes. 

However, the space is now used as an archive for the university. It is run by a group of volunteers known as the Heritage Commission and operates from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays. 

Heritage House has many permanent exhibits that are showcased throughout the building that highlight significant events in UTEP’s timeline.  

The first room after the entrance lets visitors view different names the campus has taken on and what each era looked like respective to those titles. There is also a nook dedicated to the various mascots the school has had that people can take photos with.  

Lining the back wall of this room is a display case that introduces UTEP as what was originally a state school for Mining and Metallurgy. The case then shows the school’s history through events like the 1966 National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Basketball Championship, the Peace Corps on campus, and Texas Western College being the first higher education institution in Texas to desegregate. 

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  • Art piece of the campus displayed on the wall inside the Heritage House.

  • Selection of caps from UTEP’s history on display.

  • Pictures and articles detailing and explaining the rich history of the Heritage House.

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Further in the house is a small hallway that contains another case displaying class rings and pendants as well as yearbooks that date back to 1930.  

In a separate room, there are exhibits that focus on “Women in UTEP History” and “The 100th Anniversary.” More notably, though, there is an annual exhibit called “Golden Grad” that features keepsakes of that graduation year. 

The dining room functions as a sitting area for visitors to read the materials the Heritage House has available. This room also has an extensive timeline that covers the construction growth of the campus from the years 1913 to 2019.  

While the initial charm of the house lies within the relics that decorate it, the hospitality of the volunteers running it cannot be beat. One volunteer, a retired professional engineer named William “Willie” Quinn, not only gave a wonderful tour of the building and its current exhibits, but also made the space feel as though it is truly there for students to explore.  

“Feel free to go anyplace [within Heritage House],” Quinn said, towards the end of the tour. “This is your house!” 

While Heritage House is a home for UTEP students and the El Paso community, most people find it difficult to gain access to the building due to personal schedules or campus availability. Quinn spoke on this and some possible solutions to the problem. 

“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for the public to get in here because of the closures (on campus),” Quinn said. “We’re contemplating opening on Saturday and Sunday.” 

Another incredible fact about this repository is that every article inside of the bungalow is donated. Former students and staff send in donations that can be preserved and showcased for incoming generations. Whatever does not make it into exhibits is still archived and catalogued for future reference.  

Whether you are a student, alumni, or member of the El Paso community, Heritage House is a great spot on campus to swing by for a welcoming and informative experience. The atmosphere inside and out of the house is very calm and makes for a great break during the day. 

While visitors can drop by during the allotted business hours, special tours and appointments can be made with the UTEP Alumni Relations Office at (915) 747-8600 or with Heritage House at (915) 747-5700. They can also be reached by email at [email protected] 

This contact information can be used to make donations too. 

For more information on the Heritage house, visit www.alumni.utep.edu/heritage or www.facebook.com/utepheritage.  

 Meagan Garcia is the arts & culture editor and may be reached at [email protected]