Teaching with materials in archives, museums, and special collections libraries.

Are you looking for information about ways to do a better job teaching with collection materials, primary sources, archives, rare books, museum objects, etc.  This is not that website…yet…but it could be, with your help!

In its first iteration, this site is intended to be a clearinghouse for info on opportunities like unconferences, workshops, Twitter chats, and meetings of library, archives, and museum professionals to learn more about teaching with collection materials.

The goal is to make it easier for library, archives, and museum professionals to be aware of learning opportunities across our related but often disunited fields. We are all doing similar work with similar stuff, whether we’re:

  • museum educators in museum or archives
  • instruction staff connected to a special collections libraries
  • archivist in an archival repository tasked with educating undergrads
  • teachers/faculty working with K-12 or undergrad students
  • public historians developing programs in any setting

Some fantastic places to start on teaching with archival primary sources:

  • The TPS Collective is an online resource sharing community devoted to teaching with primary sources. (launched Summer 2019)
  • The TPS Teachers Networkis an online TPS community with a particularly strong representation by K-12 practitioners, but with resources that are certainly more broadly useful. As of 2019, there’s a push to include more archivist TPSers in the community.
  • TeachArchives.org, a wonderful project from the Brooklyn Historical Society and a great starting point for noobs or for those who’ve already been doing TPS work but want to add some structure.
  • The 2018 Primary Source Literacy Guidelines (PDF) can be very helpful. The useful core is a tight 2-page list of Learning Objectives (pages 4-6) that can add structure to your lessons and guide discussions with any educators you’re working with. Also check out the Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources (TWPS), which show the Literacy Guidelines in practice — or access these Case Studies according to which learning objectives they’re designed to meet.
  • The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy is a flexible set of learning outcomes designed for higher education but with core concepts useful for any audience or practitioner.
  • The C3 Framework (PDF) for Social Studies is great. In particular, the features they label as Dimensions D2.Hist, D3, and D4 (see pages 45, 53, and 59 respectively). It’s built for K-12 but works at all levels, and has a helpful “pathway” approach that shows a what students should be able to do through a progression of levels. There are many other good C3 Resources.

Other useful recent resources include:

  • Teaching With Primary Sources (2016, Society of American Archivists, Trends in Archives Practice series)
    • Module 9: Contextualizing Archival Literacy by Elizabeth Yakel and Doris Malkmus
    • Module 10: Teaching with Archives—A Guide for Archivists, Librarians, and Educators by Sammie L. Morris, Tamar Chute, and Ellen Swain
    • Module 11: Connecting Students and Primary Sources—Cases and Examples by Tamar Chute, Ellen Swain, and Sammie L. Morris
    All three modules published in one print volume, but when it comes out as e-book, they may be available as individual modules
    Details » | Find in Library »
  • Using Primary Sources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises
    Edited by Anne Bahde, Heather Smedberg, and Mattie Taormina (2014, Libraries Unlimited)   Details » | Find in Library »
  • Past or Portal? Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives
    Edited by Eleanor Mitchell, Peggy Seiden, and Suzy Taraba (2012, ACRL)   Details » | Find in Library »
  • Teaching with Primary Sources Bibliography, includes abstracts and links to articles where possible.  Project of SAA’s Teaching with Primary Sources Committee – Zotero format (or slightly out-of-date list-version)
  • New to this? Here’s a first quick read that sums up what archivists should be striving for: Carrie Schwier’s 2017 case study on facing challenges and working to become a better archives educator.