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Special Collections & Archives

Access & Policies

Special Collections & Archives are open to the public by appointment. For your best research experience (and to help colored mine claim map, Perigo areapreserve and maintain our materials for your use):

Before you visit --

During your visit --You'll need:

  • Valid picture ID, pencils and paper--No pens or sticky notes.
  • Fill out a Visitor Form.
  • Personal bags, backpacks? Leave them in a designated area on request.
  • Wash your hands before handling items. You will need to wear a mask.
  • Want a copy of something?burro race contestants
    • Photos are welcome. Self-service photocopying or scanning is not permitted.
    • Place a request with For-Fee Digitization Service. Requests are subject to copyright restrictions and format.

After your visit -- Please:

  • Give us a shout-out! Spread the word to others about the Archives.
  • Attribute your source(s). Example: Abandoned mine, 1971. L.E. Leroy, photographer. Courtesy of the Russell L. & Lyn Wood Mining History Archive, Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines.

Find Materials

Why Use Archives?

Our Special Collections & Archives focus on STEM subjects. These collections are a bridge between STEM and the humanities, framing the human experience in science and technology over time.

The collections include books and journals, some rare. The stars of the show, though, are the primary source materials -- original documents, maps, photographs, diagrams, and correspondence found nowhere else. When you use special collections and archives in your research, you get a unique perspective on the story of technology and people.

What's a "Primary Source"?

A primary source is a first-person representation of an experience. A primary source may represent a scene, event, viewpoint, eye-witness account, or expert opinion. Primary sources are authoritative as an original expression of the creator--you must still evaluate the reliability, authority, and context of the work.

Examples of primary sources:

  • Photographs
  • Correspondence, emails, social media posts
  • Sound recordings, videos
  • Original field maps, engineering diagrams
  • Oral histories, diaries
  • Newspaper articles (if they meet the above criteria)
  • Research data sets, lab notebooks
  • Court transcripts

Secondary sources are based on analysis or interpretation of primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include:

  • Journal articles--They describe, analyze and interpret a subject, for example experimental results or observational findings
  • Books
  • Documentaries, biographies

Defining History

Archives play a critical role in defining history. Because they hold primary source materials, they:

  • Give human context to science and technology through items like correspondence, accident reports, photographs, and accounts of daily life
  • Are a source of "ground truth" about the past. Their content may be open to interpretation, but there is no filter between you and that content

Archives are an irreplaceable resource for those exploring the stories that don't make it into the history books. What happens if your "story" isn't represented in an archive? You and we all run the risk of losing that story to history.

Primary source materials don't care about today's politics, trends, or society--They are that moment in time as experienced by their creator.