Primary Source Instruction

In order to support the educational mission of UNC Asheville and Ramsey Library, the staff of Special Collections offers classroom instruction  for a variety of disciplines within the university.  Our instruction programs teach students about the relevance of historical resources as primary research resources. We believe that the opportunity to experience these primary sources enriches the research process and enables students to navigate other like environments to conduct similar research.  We custom design our presentations for the discipline and provide students the opportunity to experience the original materials as well as how to respect and handle rare and fragile materials.

In addition to formalized classroom instruction, Special Collections trains student workers and interns in proper archival techniques and procedures. Generally, Special Collections provides the opportunity to interested students on a first-come basis and they are selected based on their level of commitment to a full semester of engagement.

Special Collections provides individual faculty and students the facility and materials for structured semester-long study that can engage the class or the students deeply in work with manuscript, photograph, map, or oral history collections. Advanced student projects that are related to Special Topics classes or to Independent Study may also be arranged with Special Collections.

Examples of work conducted in Special Collections include research in Asheville’s history of urban renewal, research on the Jewish community in Western North Carolina, studies of the history and impact of tourism on Asheville and the southern Appalachian region, the history of underrepresented groups in Western North Carolina, the history of Appalachian foodways, environmental activism in Western North Carolina, and many other topics.

Our collections support the academic exploration of Asheville and the Appalachian region, forestry and environmental activism, women’s studies, popular culture, economics, environmental science, geology, art history, theater and dramaturgy, European history (particularly WWI), the Holocaust, Jewish history, and public history.