Teaching with Archives & Special Collections

Our instructional programs support UConn’s teaching and learning mission through a commitment to integrating primary resources into curriculums. Working with manuscript and primary sources promotes high levels of inquiry, helps students develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, and historical empathy, and provides important opportunities for original scholarship.

We welcome classes of all types across all disciplines from introductory classes to semester-long research projects. We seek opportunities to work with instructors to integrate our material as a critical component of the UConn curriculum, to build collaborative relationships between our archivists and university faculty, and to become a campus learning laboratory for the humanities. We collaborate with faculty, graduate students, and educators across disciplines to design hands-on learning sessions which fit your curricular needs. 

Schedule your class and learn more about what we offer:


Examples of sessions

Primary Source Analysis
Familiarize students with looking at archival materials in terms of material culture as well as objects that record information. Students are typically asked to grapple with questions of genre, medium, and provenance with a body of materials that is representative of the collections they will be consulting for their course outcome. 

Research Methods
Familiarize students with the process of consulting a body of archival material for a specific course outcome. Some of the approaches for this module may include: a focused exposure to requesting and consulting material in an archival environment, exploring how to develop research questions in response to archival evidence, how to engage with collections processed at different levels, and encountering archival silences.

Research Sessions
A flexible resource for students and instructors conducting projects for an entire unit or a semester long course.

Presentation on a set of materials determined in consultation with the instructor. The students will then be expected to develop a project that seeks to contextualize a group of materials for their peers. The format can be determined at the instructor’s discretion. Frequently, this module is done in conjunction with a research or creative project. The goal is ultimately for students to share their experiences and insights with one another.

Professional Development
Gives exposure to the practice of working in an archive as an archivist or member of the staff. Professional development can be generalized, or it can be focused with a specific collecting area or staff role in mind.
Curation Workshops
Introduce students to the concept of arrangement and display. This module is meant to give a space for familiarizing students with the hands-on work that goes into developing an exhibit for display to the public.

Creative Process
Involves an exploration of some element part of artistic or authorial development as reflected in archival materials.

Not sure where to begin?

Contact us and we can build it together. The sooner the better, but please give us at least two weeks to develop an engaging and impactful experience for your students.

Our instruction program supports several learning objectives developed by the Society of American Archivists: Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy