Instruction Program

Heritage Resources Instruction Program

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Heritage Resources' physical facilities are closed to the public and to in-person research at this time. Staff are working remotely during regular business hours, and are staying in touch with our campus and community users through email, phone, and video-conferencing platforms. Understanding that moving all classes completely online has presented immediate curricular challenges for Western students and faculty, we are finding creative ways to use these technologies to maintain reference, instruction, and other services in support of campus teaching, learning, and research needs. 

We are pleased to offer a new video on doing research with primary sources, including those available at Western through the collections of Heritage Resources. Additionally, we have created a training tutorial on the use of MABEL, an online database featuring select digitized content from our collections ( Heritage Resources staff can also recommend online resources (as well as additional content that may be available digitally but is not currently posted online) that are specifically relevant to your courses.

We are eager to work with faculty and students directly to assist you, and will continue to update our webpages and other online platforms as new resources become available. Please contact us for any questions or additional information: or (360) 650-7534 (if calling, please leave a voicemail).

Heritage Resources wants to ensure that every student who graduates from Western is able to find, understand and interpret a wide variety of research sources in various contexts throughout their lives. This is a life-long learning skill and a critical component of both information and academic literacy. The rare, original and archival sources collected by our programs are valuable teaching and learning tools that can enhance, enrich and enliven research in nearly every subject. To encourge and provide opportunities for students to discover and use our unique collections, we have developed a curriculum that provides engaging methods for accessing, researching and interpreting those materials.

Instructional activities may include in-class lectures and presentations, field trips, and hands-on exercises designed to emphasize active learning, group discussion, and reflection. Through these activities students will be able to:

  • Discover the three Heritage Resources units and the understand the scope of their collections;

  • Navigate search and access tools to find quality resources that support various research needs;

  • Use critical anlaysis skills to identify bias and point-of-view, and evaluate the relevance/reliability of information the sources contain;

  • Understand and internalize basic rules for using archives and special collections, and be comfortable communicating with staff to facilitate research requests.

The Heritage Resources instruction program is intended to provide a consistent experience for students and faculty of all academic fields; however, it is also flexible and may be tailored to suit specific course needs and/or faculty requests. Please contact us at if you'd like to learn more about these services or schedule an instructional session. For a general overview of our programs and collections, please click here to view our online video tutorial. Detailed information about the Heritage Resources instruction program, including suggested class activities and session topics, can be found in this document.