Cultural heritage materials can offer rewarding learning opportunities and impactful experiences for students across a variety of disciplines, especially in the humanities and social sciences. These learning opportunities create important historical and/or cultural context within a discipline, allowing students to deepen their engagement with a discipline, or see themselves, perhaps for the first time, as a scholar.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the attendant move to online instruction at many colleges and universities, disrupted pedagogical practices and the ways that instructors incorporate cultural heritage materials into their courses. In this study, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the authors explore how cultural organisations and academic libraries responded to the pandemic, the challenges instructors faced in adapting their courses, and what steps were taken to alleviate educational inequity. This report shares the perspectives of instructors on their changing relationship to collections and evolving teaching practices, as well as their observations about how their institution’s response to the pandemic had an impact on teaching with cultural heritage materials.