SPEC Kit 317: Special Collections Engagement · 37
We try to target specific audiences for receptions and exhibit viewing, such as sending invitations to faculty in English
for a recent exhibit on the history of English printing and publishing, to increase attendance and visibility.
We’re targeting our outreach more specifically to faculty and students concerned with the topic. We’ve also had some
success co-curating exhibits with faculty and students.
While our evaluation has not led directly to changes in what we offer, the evaluation has an influence on our perception
of what exhibitions are most likely to work. Also, our exhibitions frequently are a response from campus units to observe
anniversaries, conferences, and other occasions these, of course, are not particularly influenced by feedback.
8. Additional comments about how exhibits are used to engage students, faculty, and other affiliated
scholars/researchers in the use of special collections. N=39
Almost every exhibit has a reception of some kind, but our primary target is the community, not the University.
Also coordinated an exhibit with the English Department at their offices in observance of National Day on Writing, 20
October 2009. Special exhibits often displayed when classes are brought in for a special collections session.
Exhibition tours are occasionally offered.
Exhibitions have been tied to university-wide initiatives, for example “The Symposium,” a university-wide “intellectual
festival” with an annual theme. As part of a larger event, exhibits get more publicity, funding, and viewers.
Exhibits are sometimes created that relate to symposia or events on campus.
Exhibits are sometimes done in conjunction with related events or classes on campus. This usually appears to be more
successful because there is already a specific audience in place.
Exhibits have occasionally provided internship/practicum involvement for graduate students.
Exhibits tied to current affairs, local initiatives (Art Deco World Congress) and anniversaries (400th anniversary) in
alignment with current research (International Polar Year).
Faculty are encouraged to be guest curators or to bring their classes to Special Collections for seminars and to view the
Faculty, staff, and student groups have participated in mounting exhibits.
Faculty, staff, students, and community members have served as co-curators for exhibits. I have given gallery tours of
Most visitors encounter our exhibits on the way in and out of the reading room area. We have an annual Museums and
Galleries day in which gallery talks are given, and we reach some people through receptions in the Luhrs Reading Room.
But our primary space is isolated from prime traffic areas. Our greatest success is when we have access to the main
entrance space and continue that exhibit at our Level 4 space outside the reading room.
Our exhibitions are designed to engage the entire University community, to inform them on resources in our trust, and
to teach them about specific topics and subjects.
Please note that these responses refer specifically to the Divinity School Library within the university library system. We
use our physical and online exhibits to raise consciousness about the availability of archival and manuscript materials at
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