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Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives: For Faculty

A guide to conducting archival research and exploring special collections at Connecticut College

Special Collections Instruction

The Lear Center encourages faculty to schedule class sessions in the Palmer Room. This provides a unique opportunity to familiarize students with primary source research. Lear Center staff can provide a brief introduction to Special Collections and Archives or conduct entire class sessions, depending on the wishes of the instructor. Faculty who wish to make use of rare materials throughout the semester should contact Lear Center staff to discuss the possibility of having their classes meet regularly in the Palmer Room.

In the past, Lear Center collections have been used in approximately 60 class session per year from the following departments: Anthropology, Art, Art History and Architectural Studies, Classics, Dance, East Asian Studies, Education, English, French, Gender and Women's Studies, History, Italian, Music, Slavic Studies, and Theater. The department has ample resources for most course offerings in the humanities and social sciences. Class sessions have ranged from general introductions to primary sources in a field to specific topical presentations to project-based instruction in the use of primary sources in research. Lear Center staff are happy to discuss class projects and potential research topics using our collections.

Why Use Our Collections?
The Lear Center offers a unique opportunity on campus to analyze rare materials. Students can learn the basic research skills necessary in researching primary source materials. Because many of the items in the collections are unique, there is the potential for significant discoveries to be made. Many of our manuscript collections have been largely unused and any research performed on these documents will bring to light something new. We have collections in all subject areas with particular strength in the following fields:

English and American literature
American History
Environmental Studies
Women's Studies
Book Arts and the history of printing
Children's literature and illustration
History and Architecture of Connecticut College and New London

Schedule a class visit

We have found the best way to integrate special collections instruction into the classroom is to tailor the instruction to the topics and focus of the class.  Please contact us so that we can discuss the particulars of your course and put the session on our schedule. In some circumstances it may also be possible to digitize materials for further use in the classroom.

Students are encouraged to handle materials and the Lear center staff will offer preliminary instruction on the handling of delicate materials.

We look forward to working with you!