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Teaching with Primary Sources

Teaching Support

The Special Collections Research Center supports the teaching mission of the University of Kentucky by hosting a diverse range of instructional activities which make use of rare books, archival collections, and oral histories.  We maintain a strong interest in working with undergraduate and graduate classes to introduce primary resources for research and experience based learning.


Classroom Spaces

The Great Hall, Margaret I. King Library, 2nd floor

  • Suitable for small/larger classes or group work – three (3) large tables and up to 35/40 chairs available in various configurations
  • A projector and screen are available; media cart with TV monitor, VHS player, and multi-region DVD deck


Ford Center, Margaret I. King Library, 1st floor

  • Suitable for classes up to 28 students in small groups or lecture
  • Modular tables, internet, large screen
  • Five computer stations


Additional spaces in the Little Fine Arts Library, where available.



Scheduling a class visit

  • Contact Jaime Marie Burton, Education & Outreach Archivist, to arrange for a class session.
  • Please make your reservation at least two to three weeks in advance - allow more lead time if teaching support is requested
  • The Great Hall can be reserved for individual sessions or for multiple recurring classes throughout the semester



Additional Teaching support

  • If you would like to have a member of the Special Collections staff speak to your class, we can arrange for a variety of presentations, from a ten-minute introduction to a full class session.
  • Special Collections staff members can lead exercises devoted to our holdings in a specific subject area, lead introductory sessions on primary sources, and provide general overviews on a variety of topics.
  • Special Collections staff members can help you locate materials to support your teaching.  We have extensive knowledge of our collections, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for suggestions.
  • Special Collections staff members can provide an overview of Breckinridge Research Room procedures, from a tour of the room to instruction on how to request material.  We have tables large enough to accommodate small groups of faculty and students (2-8 people) conducting collaborative research, as well as individual researchers.
  • Faculty are also welcome to teach in Special Collections. We can provide the materials and space you need and leave you with your students.
  • Special Collections staff are happy to collaborate with faculty to craft assignments based on the collections.  Consulting with Special Collections staff in advance will help us work with you to prepare for student needs.
  • We have samples of previous exercises available for your consideration.



Preparing for a class visit

  • The guidelines that apply to the Breckinridge Research Room also apply to the Great Hall, the Ford Center, or any classroom space where archival materials are present.  Please distribute these guidelines to your students before class.
  • A Special Collections staff member will be present to greet your class.  Visitors must use pencil only (we have an ample supply).  In the Great Hall, please store bags, food and beverages, and other personal belongings away from the work space.
  • Students and faculty are welcome to bring notebooks, secondary sources, and laptop computers into the Great Hall.