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Teaching with Special Collections

Teaching with Special Collections: Activities and Assignments

Special Collections is an integral part of the teaching mission of Louisiana State University. Our materials and facilities are used every year as part of class visits by more than 2,500 students from a variety of disciplines. Such visits are opportunities for students to:

  • Experience course material in a hands-on, active-learning environment.
  • Directly encounter objects from other time periods and world cultures.
  • Find inspiration for creative projects.
  • Become familiar with archives and primary source research.
  • Improve their critical-thinking and communication skills by researching, writing about, and presenting on historical objects.
  • Acquire investigative skills essential to future study and employment.

Class visits can be tailored to your needs. Some instructors simply use library materials as the basis of lectures; others create interactive exercises such as document analysis worksheets. Student presentations and performances are among the many other options available. Library staff have expertise in several areas, including primary source literacy, the history of books and printing, literary history, the history of photography, and rare books as material culture. Whatever your field of study, we are happy to work with you to identify materials that fit into your curriculum and design meaningful experiences for your students.

Selected activities and assignments are showcased here. Additional examples are available on request.

Materials relevant to many course topics can be found in our collections. To learn more, explore the online catalog, the manuscript collection subject guides, and the LibGuide to Rare Books. Also feel free to contact a staff member

For logistical information on setting up a class visit and photos of available spaces, please visit the "Planning a Class" page on the Special Collections website.