The brand-new Special Collections & Archives classroom (ZSR624) hosted its first students today, as Professor Mir Yarfitz’s History 108 class paid a visit to study some 16th-18th century maps from our collection.

map class 2016a
Dr. Mir Yarfitz of the WFU History Department with students from his Americas and the World class in ZSR Special Collections & Archives.

The new classroom is adjacent to the Special Collections & Archives research room (ZSR625). Previously used for book storage, the space has been completely renovated and will soon have multimedia projection equipment.

A dedicated classroom has long been on the Special Collections & Archives staff “wishlist.” During the 2015/16 academic year our librarians and archivists taught over 100 class sessions and group visits in our research room, which was not designed to be an instruction space. Class visits also meant that any researchers using the space had to move to a smaller and less convenient room.

map class 2016b
Students from Dr. Yarfitz’s Americas and the World class examine 17th century maps of North America in ZSR Special Collections & Archives

The new classroom leaves our visiting researchers undisturbed, and its modular design creates many new opportunities for innovative use of our collections. Today’s history class was a good example: we were able to create several stations around the room for students to examine a variety of historic maps of North America. A particularly interesting one, John Mitchell’s 1755 map of the then-British colonies,  had never before been used in its (almost) entirety for classroom instruction, because we didn’t have a table large enough to display it.

ZSR Mitchell map
Three-quarters of ZSR Special Collections’ first edition Mitchell map displayed for use in the new Special Collections & Archives classroom

We’re very excited about the future of Special Collections & Archives instruction in our new space! If you’re interested in arranging a Special Collections visit for your class or group, please contact us for more information.