Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Teach the Collections

A step-by-step guide to requesting materials for your class visit.

The Harry Ransom Center welcomes classes working with our collection materials. As one of the leading humanities research centers in the world, the Ransom Center offers a unique opportunity for students to work with the vast and diverse collection materials. Primary sources help students make a personal connection with history, offer research opportunities, deepen understanding, and spark questioning and creativity. Staff are available to teach collaboratively with you or to help you plan your own session in one of our four seminar rooms. Bring your class for a single visit or schedule several visits throughout the semester. We are also available to consult on assignments that require the use of our Reading and Viewing Room and to support your students as they plan and carry out their research visits.

For questions, requests for staff presentations, and help planning a classroom visit or an assignment that requires the use of our Reading and Viewing Room, please contact Head of Instructional Services Andi Gustavson at agustavson@utexas.edu.

We look forward to having your class here at the Center.

Reserve a seminar room

Seminar rooms are in great demand so reservations should be made as far in advance as possible. Classrooms can accommodate up to 35 students and are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please submit your requests for a reservation at least two weeks in advance of your proposed class visit. If you would like a staff member to teach with you, additional lead time and a pre-class meeting may be required. To reserve a classroom, please complete a reservation form and send it to Kathryn Millan at kmillan@austin.utexas.edu.

Prepare for your visit

To select materials for your visit, you will need to create a research account and come into the Center to watch a brief orientation video. You can find information about our holdings by using the online library catalog, searching our finding aids, and perusing our Guide to the Collections.

Requests for materials are limited to 15 items and must be submitted one week before your class session (two weeks for visual materials) in order to allow us time to page the materials, consult with curators, and suggest substitutes for fragile items. To learn more about how to request materials, please visit Using the Collections.

Please plan to visit the Reading and Viewing room in the day or two before your class visit to consult the materials, select page openings for books, and determine manuscript pages for display.

On the day of your visit

Students may assemble in the second-floor lobby until the scheduled class time. A staff member will welcome the group and provide an overview of the classroom policies. If you or your students have any special needs or considerations please inform the staff when making your reservation. Please keep in mind:

  • No food or drink is permitted in the library.
  • Personal belongings must be stored in the cubbies.
  • Instructors must be in the classroom when students are present.
  • Instructors and students are asked to bring only those items needed for instructional use. Only yellow paper and pencils (provided) may be used in rooms where classes meet. Laptops should be removed from cases. Course textbooks are permitted with staff approval.
  • Only the instructor may handle collection materials in the classroom.
  • Collection materials will be displayed on the tables or in the cases. Items must not be held up for display or passed from person to person. Instructors are encouraged to inform students that they may register for a research account online through the Center's website.
  • Reference photography of materials may be permitted if arrangements are made ahead of time. Please see our digital camera use policy.

Primary Source Analysis Guides