Teaching and Learning with Archives and Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections partners with teaching faculty to develop instructional opportunities that enhance the student learning experience through the investigation and use of primary source material. The Archives and Special Collections teaching and learning services include:

  • Consultations with instructors about possible assignments and lessons using primary sources and special collections materials.
  • Guided discussions about primary sources related to the course topic or theme.
  • Hands-on activities in which students observe, analyze, and interpret primary sources.
  • Semester-long collaborations in which students use Archives and Special Collections holdings in support of research and public history projects.
  • Preparatory sessions that introduce students to primary source research.
  • Interactive workshops for local K-12 students engaged in National History Day research projects.
  • Instruction sessions for student and community organizations interested in historical topics supported by Archives and Special Collections holdings.

Teaching Philosophy

The Archives and Special Collections instruction program draws on the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy. We believe that our collections exist to be used in teaching and learning and seek to facilitate productive and transformative encounters between students and archival materials. These encounters are designed around the following learning outcomes.

By engaging with primary sources, learners begin to:

  • Think critically about how silences, gaps, biases, and power impact the historical record and the research process.
  • Connect historical events to the present and understand their role in the history of the PLU/local community.
  • Examine and synthesize different types of information to construct, support, or dispute an argument.
  • Articulate what primary sources might support a research project within an academic discipline and identify the possible origin and location of those sources.

If you are interested in discussing instruction options for your class, contact Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Lauren Loftis at loftis@plu.edu or (253) 535-7586.