Instruction and Classes

If you are interested in setting up an instruction session, or wondering what materials might be appropriate for a class, please contact us at

Archives and Special Collections welcomes the opportunity to work with classes from across the curriculum as well as classes and organizations beyond Mount Holyoke. As a hands-on laboratory for the liberal arts, Archives and Special Collections provides students with the opportunity to work with original primary materials and develop rhetorical and critical thinking skills, cultural stewardship, a sense of the authority and authenticity of sources, empathy and engagement with materials, the importance of physical artifacts, and an acceptance of ambiguity.

Archives and Special Collections' teaching philosophy is to deeply engage students with original primary materials, to expose as many students as possible to our unique resources, and to provide them with the tools they need to best analyze, interpret, and use these resources. As a special collections department at an undergraduate liberal arts college, we are here to facilitate student learning and faculty teaching.

Classes in Archives and Special Collections can be arranged for any size and for students at any level. Introductory classes might include a brief orientation to the concept and existence of Archives and Special Collections; all classes include time for students to interrogate and handle materials. Often, students will work with materials which might be used in a class assignment, and then return individually to spend more time with resources. Sessions are planned in conjunction with the course instructor.

Classes and visits for schools and organizations not affiliated with Mount Holyoke College are also supported; we welcome the opportunity to work with a wide variety of groups. We are happy to support visits from K-12 schools and other area colleges, scholarly organizations, any groups interested in the history of women in higher education, and groups of librarians and archivists. Groups interested in such sessions should contact Archives and Special Collections; an archivist will then help to plan your class or event.