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Archives Concentration: Teaching the Archives: Teaching From the Archives

Sophia Smith Collection, College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection (Originally created in Fall 2015)

Online guides for students working with archival materials

Many guides exist online that will help students and you work with primary materials. Here are some of the best.

Class Visits

Karen TeachingBecause archives are relatively mysterious and perhaps intimidating places to most undergraduates, we recommend a class orientation if you’re thinking about including an archives assignment in your syllabus.

These generally include a brief introduction to what we are all about, a run down of our regulations and procedures for use, and an opportunity for your students to examine some archival materials selected for your class.

The more we know about your course and any related assignment, the better we can tailor our presentation and selections to your group—and it’s always helpful to the entire reference staff to know the scope of the assignment (find one document, 5 page paper, 25 page paper) and when it’s due.

Contact Karen Kukil for scheduling and to send a syllabus and copy of the assignment.

Rappaport Funding

Have you considered teaching a mini-course using Smith’s archives during Interterm? Each spring faculty members eligible for CFCD funding may apply to develop archives courses through the Rappaport funds.

The mini-courses are low stress for both faculty members and students, yet we recognize you’ll need to invest some time in preliminary exploration, especially of very large collections.

John Davis will consider applications for Rappaport Fellowships for this type of course development. The deadline is in late March. 

  • These are the criteria for applying for course development funds for mini-research courses in the Archives:
  • The course must be new (in contrast to adding an archives assignment as a module to an existing course, though that may be a later outcome of teaching the mini-course)
  • The course must be interdisciplinary
  • A faculty member proposing a 1-credit new course would be eligible to receive a stipend of up to $1000 and up to $750 in other course development funding (travel, materials, student research assistance).
  • The faculty member is expected to teach the course at least twice, once within a year of receiving the funding for course development.

These week-long courses are a perfect way to work with students in exploring a collection that’s new to you.

More details about the mini-archives course proposals are provided (pdf).