Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Signature Courses at the Harry Ransom Center

Professor with students

Professor Janine Barchas explores Ransom Center materials with her students. Photo by Pete Smith.

Signature Courses provide a unique opportunity for students and faculty to interact with and to explore the University's vast resources. According to the guidelines set out by the School of Undergraduate Studies, Signature Courses must include a visit to a University "gem."

The following information has been compiled to assist faculty members planning to visit the Harry Ransom Center, named by the Commission of 125 as a University "gem."

There are four options for visiting the Center, designed to meet the varied needs of faculty and students across the disciplines. If you have an idea for another type of visit to the Ransom Center, please contact Danielle Sigler at 512-232-5170 or danielle.sigler@austin.utexas.edu. Out of consideration for our staff and patrons, we ask that you notify the Center of any planned visits and assignments beyond those represented here. We will be happy to provide guidance for the most effective use of our resources.

Note regarding Reading Room visits: Although we encourage undergraduate students who are pursuing research projects to use the Reading and Viewing Room (RVR), we cannot accommodate assignments that require individual students or classes to visit the RVR and request and view items to fulfill the "gem" requirement. These assignments can overwhelm the limited RVR staff and generally do not provide a constructive learning experience for students.

Seminar room visits with collection materials

(limited to 25 individual Signature Course sessions per semester on a first-come, first-served basis)

Faculty members whose course content coincides with the Center's collecting strengths can personally select up to 15 items from the Center's collections to share with their students during a class meeting in one of the Center's seminar rooms. Faculty members choosing this option should reserve a room significantly in advance to ensure a space. Requests for Ransom Center materials must be submitted at least 1 week in advance of the class meeting date, for books and manuscripts, and 2 weeks in advance for visual materials (photography, art, performing arts, personal effects). Signature course faculty are responsible for selecting all materials and teaching the class session.

Please note: Some visual materials may require advance approval from the relevant curator. Please allow additional time in your planning if you intend to incorporate these items into your class visit.

Guidelines for the use of the Ransom Center Seminar Rooms
Application for Use of Ransom Center Seminar Rooms
How to Request Materials for Your Class Event

Docent-led tours of the galleries

Docent and gallery visitors

A Ransom Center volunteer with gallery visitors. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

(limited to 25 Signature Course sessions per semester, on a first-come, first-served basis)

The Ransom Center's exhibition schedule roughly coincides with the semester calendar. Faculty can find information about current and upcoming exhibitions on our website.

Docent-led tours will introduce students to the collections of the Center and its exhibition program. Tours must be scheduled no less than two weeks in advance and can be scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To schedule a tour please complete the tour request form or contact hrctours@austin.utexas.edu.

Tour Request Form

Please note: If you would like to tour the galleries with your students, but will not require a docent, please notify hrctours@austin.utexas.edu of the time and date of your intended visit to confirm that there are not conflicting tours planned during your visit.

Student self-guided tour

Students in gallery

Students explore the Ransom Center galleries. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

Faculty members whose course schedules will not permit a class visit to the Ransom Center can provide students with exhibition guides.

Current Exhibitions

Please note: If you plan to encourage all of your students to visit at the same time (regardless of whether you will or will not be accompanying them), please notify hrctours@austin.utexas.edu of the time and date of your intended visit to confirm that there are not conflicting tours planned during your students' visit. If your students will be visiting sporadically, on their own time, you do not need to notify the Center. Please let your students know that photography, food, and drink are not permitted in the galleries.

Public programs

Theater full of students

Students attend a program in the
Center's Charles Nelson Prothro Theater.
Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

Each semester, the Center hosts a wide range of programs. See our calendar for current listings. If you and your students would like to attend a particular program as a class, please contact Danielle Sigler at 512-232-5170 or Danielle.Sigler@austin.utexas.edu.

You must contact Danielle Sigler at least three weeks in advance to request reserved seating. Requests will be met on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note: If you plan to require attendance at a particular program please contact Danielle Sigler at 512-232-5170 or Danielle.Sigler@austin.utexas.edu. This will permit us to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate a larger than anticipated crowd. With few exceptions, we cannot guarantee entrance to events. All programs are open to the public with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.


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