In a typical year, the Wangensteen Historical Library interacts with more than 1,750 students in small groups from disciplines ranging from the history of medicine and science to English, anatomy, design, and art history in a variety of educational settings.

The books and artifacts in the Wangensteen’s collection can be used both to facilitate learning around classroom content and also as a place to develop research and writing skills.

Rare books can help make history come alive, so students are invited to carefully handle the books while looking at the books’ content, such as images, charts, handwriting, and at the construction of the items themselves.

The Wangensteen staff typically assists the instructor in selecting materials from the collection to show to students based on course content.

Since this is the first time that many students have worked with historical material, many instructors find it helpful to have an activity dedicated to using rare books. Instructors are invited to either use existing activities that the library has developed for other courses, or develop a new project for their students.

We are happy to work with non-university groups such as K-12 classes and community organizations and clubs. Off-site visits, such as “show and tell” sessions, can be organized if given ample planning time.

Please contact wanghist@umn.edu to plan your visit.

Rare books displayed in the Wangensteen Library's Reading Room