Building access is available to GW students, faculty, and staff who have completed all of the steps outlined on GW's Onward website. No one will be allowed to sign in without a physical GWorld card or enter the library if their GWorld card tap is denied. Library access is not available for alumni or visitors. Masks are required inside all library buildings.

Class Instruction

students looking at documents in the special collections research center

The Special Collections Research Center works with educators and learners at GWU as well as those from local universities, middle schools, and high schools to bring primary sources into coursework and instruction. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff support the teaching mission of the university and work closely with educators to design activities, assignments, and projects with primary sources, whether through a single class visit or an extended project based in the collections. We are committed to creating student learning experiences that are equitable and accessible. We provide instruction on conducting effective research utilizing paper-based and digital primary sources and rare books and our approach to teaching is grounded in the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy

We are available to help you design engaging and meaningful synchronous and/or asynchronous classroom activities and assignments that make use of digital collections in order to meet a wide variety of learning objectives. This includes, but is not limited to, curating digital primary sources sets around the theme of your course from our digital collections, library databases, and the open web. 

To learn more or to schedule a class session you can reach us through our contact form or contact Leah Richardson, Special Collections Research and Instruction Librarian, directly. 

Resources for Teaching and Learning with Primary Sources

We curate primary source sets (in-person or remote) for students to interpret and engage in document analysis, construct narratives among sources, connect documents to historical context, and contribute to scholarly communications through transcription, annotation, exhibition, and other activities. We can also help introduce learners to primary source research online using digital collections and surrogates to help students understand the context of a digital source, engage with data, and make connections between digital materials and course themes.