S.207: Collaborating with impact: working together on archives based instruction

I had the great opportunity to speak on a panel this afternoon about a pre-college course I co-developed with a graduate student at the University of Rochester, Hands on history: telling stories with stuff. We’ve taught this class two summers in a row and during the two week session we expose high school students from all over the world to our special collections. The students choose which collections and items they’d like to work with and then they create an exhibit to highlight connections across the collections. This class is extremely rewarding and offers us the opportunity to work with non-traditional archives users.

Robin Katz shared her work onTeachArchives.org that she developed at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Her presentation focused on several layers of collaboration that came out of this project:

Historical society and local colleges; staff and faculty; faculty and students; stakeholders and external evaluators. These kinds of collborations enabled her to develop intelligent and professional communities. Her big take-away was to move instruction from ambiguous student engagement to structuring instruction opportunities and programming to have clear, measurable impact on users.

Elizabeth Wilkinson and Purdue faculty member, Kristina Bross shared their collaborative, semester long class that introduced students to archival research methods. They encouraged us to think about how best to leverage faculty and archivist expertise, and to take risks with instruction. Their collaboration led to a Purdue University Press published book that highlighted student work done in the archives. Clearly a win-win!

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