Given our limitations on space, it is important to submit requests for class visits as far in advance as possible; our classroom calendar fills up very quickly every semester. Faculty who want to include a substantial archival component in their course (including multiple visits to the Archives and special projects) should meet with the College Archivist and/or Head of the Archives & Special Collections during the semester before the course is scheduled.
The Archives & Special Collections does not have a dedicated classroom space, so all class visits require us to close the Reading Room to other patrons. The maximum number of students we can accommodate is 20 (with no hands-on work with materials); classes with more than 20 students must be split into smaller groups and multiple class visits must be scheduled. Given our seating limitations, the maximum number of students for hands-on work with archival materials is 12.
Archives & Special Collections materials are not available for use anywhere outside the Archives & Special Collections in Frost. Archives staff are available to visit your classroom to demonstrate how to locate materials through the online catalog and finding aids and to show students how to access materials in Amherst College Digital Collections (acdc.amherst.edu).
The Archives & Special Collections maintains a very active schedule of exhibitions in our gallery spaces within Frost Library. Faculty interested in incorporating an exhibition component into their course should contact the College Archivist and/or Head of the Archives & Special Collections at least one full semester in advance. A formal exhibition proposal is required, after which we will draw up a Memo of Understanding detailing responsibilities and deadlines if the proposal is approved.
Yes! Archives & Special Collections works closely with the Research & Instruction Department in co-teaching class sessions. We encourage you to contact your department liaison.
Please contact the Archives if you want to use your class time for your students to work independently in the Archives so we can ensure adequate staff are on hand to retrieve materials. Scheduling priority will be given to instructional class visits over independent study sessions; if the Reading Room is scheduled for a class visit, we cannot simultaneously accommodate a second class conducting independent research. Students do not need to make appointments to visit the Archives outside of class visits, but we do need advance notice if an entire class is coming at once.
All in-house digitization is handled by the Digital Programs department in Frost Library. Faculty who want students to work with digital images of archival materials must contact both the Archives and Digital Programs well in advance to determine what material can be digitized for their students and how long that might take. Additional support from IT may also be required, depending on the nature of the project.