Who can use the collections?

Enfield (Quabbin) dancers
How they danced in Enfield, a Quabbin town

Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are always happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.

Although research appointments are not required, advance notice may help our staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.

In the reading room

  • General
    • Please sign in at the front desk each visit
    • Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
    • Please switch off cell phones or set them to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
    • Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
  • Care and handling of materials
    • Please use care in handling materials to prevent damage
    • Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
    • Photographs of materials are permitted for research purposes only
    • Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
    • Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit

Instruction in SCUA

Providing instruction in archival research and the use of primary resources is a priority for SCUA, and our archivists welcome visits from groups or classes at any level or of any affiliation. Each semester we host dozens of classes from UMass and the Five Colleges, but we also support classes and projects for local high schools and for both undergraduate and graduate courses at universities throughout the region. The disciplines who come here range widely, from history and American culture to African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, plant and soil sciences, and library and information science.

Our staff are always available to offer introductions to archival research and the use of primary materials, and we provide overviews of specific areas of historical or cultural interest, information about our collections, or discussions of the history of social change, New England, or UMass Amherst.

To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:

  • Name of instructor or contact
  • Affiliation
  • Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
  • Number of students or visitors
  • Subject area and research interests
  • Special requests (for collections)
  • Requests for accommodations/accessibility needs

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