PM Sessions: Teaching with Primary Sources Unconference

I went to three unconference sessions during the afternoon. The first was about taking collections on the road. The road can be upstairs to a different department, to another building on campus or out for a traveling exhibit or exhibit loan. Several concerns came up, including: security, environment, and bang for the buck. At the University of Rochester, we believe that any opportunity to showcase our materials to new audiences is wor the staff time and effort. We bring collections to classrooms in other buildings, or on other campuses within the University, we do pop-up exhibits to tie in with campus lectures and other programming. Other comments from this discussion included creating policies to help us share our concerns with key stakeholders. RBMS had guidelines fo exhibit loans that might be useful. Ideas for how to bring collections on the road included collection kits either with reproductions or with original items that you have duplicate copies of. The possibility of integrating an ILL program or the ability to “check out” a collection. A key question was to consider how these efforts fit with our mission to steward collections?

The second session was about outreach to STEM faculty. Ideas included reaching out to STEM student groups, like a georgeaphy club. Focusing on the history of a particular discipline to connect current research to that discipline’s past, and the importance of embedding descriptions of our collections into research guides used by subject specialists. Ideas like holding faculty open houses or happy hours, digital signage or an e-newsletter can help spread the word to any discipline.

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