Educators Blog

Introducing Undergraduates to Archives

Friday, 6/20/14

Imagine you are a student, walking into a large building to complete a research task, and immediately you feel completely overwhelmed. You had no idea what to expect when first visiting an archive. You did not even think to bring a pencil or search online to find what documents would work well with your research! Well, that fear should be gone if the student is able to visit the archive as a part of their classroom curriculum.

“Introducing Undergraduate Students in Archives” provides guidelines, best practices, and examples of previous visits in order to demonstrate to college-level educators how they can utilize the archives in their  classes.  The section gives real-world examples on how to introduce primary source documents into the classroom.  and how to provide students with the support they need to feel comfortable in an archive  enhancing their research with primary sources.

Last fall two Professors, Dr. Miller and Dr. Hyson, from St. Joseph’s University, incorporated visits to HSP as a part of their class curriculum. The results were inspiring, as students were able to use different primary sources to enhance their understanding of the topics discussed in class. The documents were a mix of visuals and first-hand accounts, and the subsequent questions, which accompanied each document, allowed for critical thinking and thoughtful analysis. Students commented that the documents helped make history feel more relevant and many students even took the opportunity to visit outside of class. Outside of the classroom, most students  never receive the opportunity to work with primary source documents; therefore providing this unique experience  fosters lifelong skills for deeper understanding of historical events.

To learn more about how to incorporate primary source documents into an undergraduate classroom, please visit the Introducing Undergraduate Students in Archives. If you would like to schedule a visit, please email us and we would be more than happy to help you get started.

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