Skip to main content

Teaching with Archives


What can you do with the Queens College Special Collections and Archives (SCA)? What can the SCA do for your course?

This guide begins to answer those questions, and provide examples of how to get started.

Archives, whether referring to a collection of items or their institutional home, are especially well-suited to provide unique, hands-on learning opportunities. Analyzing primary sources requires the ability to observe closely, evaluate biases, investigate clues, summarize findings, and use historical empathy. Teaching with archives also raises questions about power, memory, evidence, and the production of history.

This guide presents a bibliography of resources on Teaching with Archives and incorporates examples from our own practices here at Queens College.

Under “Resources,” we've highlighted guidelines and programs for instruction developed by professional organizations and practicing institutions. There is also a short annotated bibliography of books, journal articles, and popular writing on this topic.

Under “QC Toolbox” we post examples of teaching with archives here at Queens College, including presentations, lesson plans, and worksheets. Our goal is to support a variety of objectives - from enhancing research skills, to debating political ideas, to providing inspiring source material to artists, poets, or zine-makers.

Do you have questions about teaching with archives? Or maybe you already have an idea for using archives in the classroom that isn't covered in this guide? We'd love to hear from you. You can make a request via or email Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives, at


Thanks to Archival Instruction Fellow Max Thorn (spring 2019) for his contributions to this LibGuide.