Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers: Archives-Based Learning

Presbyterian Historical Society



Presbyterian Historical Society, Museum Without Walls Calder Statues sign, installed August 2018. Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Historical Society.


Presbyterian Historical Society reading room, January 2018. Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Historical Society.


Presbyterian Historical Society, "Presbyterians and the American Revolution" exhibit, April 2018. Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Historical Society.

Presbyterian Historical Society will collaborate with classes from Community College of Philadelphia to give students access to rare historical materials. The program will cultivate enhanced research and critical thinking skills, and deconstruct received historical notions through semester-long research projects studying items from the Historical Society’s collections. Public exhibitions hosted at the Historical Society and online will reflect on the students’ research experiences, as well as examine the idea of archives and some of the complications of historical collections—including issues of accessibility, institutional bias in collecting strategies, and holes in representation. Selected in conjunction with the college’s instructors, the archival materials will provide the foundation for timely humanities-based investigations and will be incorporated into new curriculum materials. The project offers instructors and students a unique opportunity to work closely with professional archivists, while allowing the Historical Society to better understand how to serve the needs of student researchers and eliminate barriers to access for underserved patron groups.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.