Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College Archives and Special Collections

Academics

The Archives and Special Collections for Educators

  • I'm not a faculty or staff member of Wheaton College. Can my class still utilize the Archives and Special Collections?
    The Marion B. Gebbie Archives and Special Collections is welcome to be used by all educators, regardless of their institutional affiliation. However, due to time and staffing constraints, priority will be given to Wheaton faculty and staff to use of the Archives and Special Collections. For outside educators wishing to utilize the Archives and Special Collections, it is recommended that they contact a member of the staff well in advance to determine the feasibility and logistics.
  • How do I reserve the Gebbie Reading Room for a class?
    Educators are able to reserve the Gebbie Reading Room for classes by contacting the Archives and Special Collections directly, either by phone or e-mail. Requests to reserve the room should be made well in advance to ensure that there are no scheduling conflicts and that a staff member will be present. When requesting the room, please indicate any special needs that your class may have (i.e. television, projector, extra staff, etc...).
  • How do I place an item in the Archives on reserve?
    Books, manuscripts, or archival materials may be set aside for use in the Gebbie Reading Room as part of a class assignment. Materials will be available during normal open hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30). Please contact a member of the Archives staff well in advance to choose materials and make arrangements for your class reserves.
  • What is the benefit of teaching with primary source documents?

    Primary sources are firsthand accounts of events created by individuals during that period of time or several years later (in the form of memoirs, personal histories, and correspondences). These original records can be found in several medias such as print, artwork, and audio and visual recording. Examples of primary sources include manuscripts, newspapers, speeches, cartoons, photographs, video, and artifacts. Primary sources can be described as those sources that closest to origin of the information. They contain raw information and thus, must be interpreted by researchers.

    By using primary sources students become much closer to the subject matter, as they are reading documents created during the actual time period they are learning about. Additionally, students are challenged to think in a different mindset than if they were reading secondary sources. Primary sources encourage students to become independent researchers and analyze the documents for themselves. They must answer questions such as who created the document, why was it created, and what was does it mean overall?

    Using primary source documents can be a rewarding, but a very challenging exercise for students. While the challenge associated with using primary source documents can help to develop a students' research and writing skills, at first many can be overwhelmed and unsure of how to use these documents. Educators should be prepared to guide students in analyzing primary source documents. The National Archives website provides excellent resources to help with this task. Listed below are PDF links to its primary source analysis worksheets. These worksheets can be useful to both students and educators when trying to understand and utilize primary resources.

    Written Document | Artifact | Cartoon| Map| Motion Picture| Photograph| Poster| Sound Recording

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