Skip to main content

Teaching and class visits

Archives and Special Collections welcomes the opportunity to work with classes from all academic disciplines, and our robust primary sources are integrated into the teaching and educational mission of Mount Holyoke College. We also work with classes and organizations in our community, the Five Colleges, and beyond. If you are interested in setting up an instruction session or wondering what materials might be appropriate for a class, please contact us at

Teaching philosophy

Archives and Special Collections provides students with the opportunity to work with unique primary materials and to understand the authority and authenticity of sources and of the importance of physical artifacts. Students will also develop rhetorical and critical thinking skills, empathy and engagement with materials 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 students 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 that might be used in a class assignment and then return individually to spend more time with resources. Sessions are planned with the course instructor.

We also support classes and visits for schools and organizations not affiliated with Mount Holyoke College; 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 us at to help plan a visit.