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History Faculty


Burns Library

This is a guide for sources available for historians at Boston College targeted for professionals.

Class Sessions & Assignments

We are happy to encourage wider use of Burns Library’s unique materials for teaching and research, and will work creatively with faculty and others to develop customized classes, activities, and assignments around syllabi  topics and learning objectives. Instructors interested in using special collections materials to enhance the learning outcomes of their courses and/or research assignments should contact Burns Library staff as far in advance as possible, as demand for our classroom space and instructional support staff can be heavy, especially during the latter part of the semester. We look forward to working with you and your group.

Suggestions for Instruction

While we tailor instruction to your specific class, there are a series of loose frameworks you can consider as you decide how you'd like to integrate Burns material into your session. Bear in mind that we recommend working with both O'Neill (your subject liaison) and Burns to ensure your students comprehend multiple aspects of research, material literacy, and communication. 

  • Multi-session, scaffolded assignments: This style supports student work on course assignments (be it quizzes, essays, or digital exhibits). A first session often focuses on introducing special collections and the project. A second session frequently emphasizes in-depth engagement, asking student to engage course theories or focus on material specificities. A third session often asks students to dig into the material themselves. A fourth session often asks the students to work on their final project itself. 
  • Multi-session, change over time: This style emphasizes different material to highlight how different kinds of materials or theories develop. Professors can use multiple sessions to highlight the development of the book (as material) or in colonial attitudes (i.e., perception of the "other").
  • Two-session instruction: This style often focuses on an introduction for the first session and time for the students to do a more in-depth analysis of different material in the second. This style works best if the students have a handout, quiz, or other work to complete to guide them into analysis. 
  • Single-session instruction: This style is often designed to introduce students to the physical side of material and get them thinking about the world around them. Sessions often work best when integrated into course themes/concepts. 

Out of Classroom Experiences

Burns Library Staff can provide support for Out of Classroom Experiences. In order to be effective for students without overwhelming library staff, spaces, and materials, OCE objectives, activities, and assignments must be thoroughly planned ahead of time. Please contact Burns Library staff about designing an OCE that involves Burns Library’s unique materials. We look forward to enriching your students’ learning through engagement with our collections.