"I should probably know more": Reasons for and roadblocks to the use of historic collections

Date
2017-01-01
Authors
Gordon, Jennifer
Marcketti, Sara
Marcketti, Sara
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Abstract

Collections of dress and textiles can make subjects such as history come to life. However previous studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that many collections are underutilized within university settings. The purpose of this paper was to examine what factors influence the use of collections in the university classroom, and to ask whether there are barriers in place that prevent more frequent use of these resources. Following institutional review board exemption, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with curators and collection managers at twelve institutions (n=15) and then with faculty who utilized the collection (n=9) and faculty who could, but did not utilize the collection (n=6). Drawing from the interview transcripts, the researchers will illuminate possible barriers that prevent faculty from utilizing collections. We will also provide ways to encourage use of these valuable resources. These suggestions will be guided by organizational learning theory.

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