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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

About Classes: Special Collections

COVID-19 access

We expect our below guidelines may change as government agencies and RISD issue additional directives.  All services are contingent upon staffing being available.

We are currently offering virtual classes via Zoom and our document camera from the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room.

  • For virtual classes up to ten items can be pulled per class. 
  • Classes can be recorded with the Special Collections Librarian and Faculty Member for asynchronous instruction.
  • We are adding digital content from RISD Digital Commons, Artstor, and Internet Archive to class lists (arranged alphabetically by department above). 
  • ​​​​​​​Questions about classes please contact Claudia Covert.


Each year Special Collections is visited by over 100 RISD classes and groups from the greater Providence, RI area.  Faculty members or group leaders can request a date and specific items for a class or group visit to Special Collections here.

  • Requests must be made at least four weeks in advance.  Due to space and staffing we are limited to four classes and/or groups a week and no more than two a day.

  • Instruction in Special Collections is a collaborative process. The faculty member must be present during every class visit.

  • If your visit request falls outside our normal hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30 pm)  please contact us by email

  • All new classes/groups and/or new faculty/leaders are required to make an appointment before your class/group visits to discuss class structure and review items.  Appointments are recommended for all returning faculty/leaders as well.

Handouts listing items used in previous class or group visits to Special Collections are available at the top of this page (sorted by department or affiliation).

General Information

How to identify materials in Special Collections:

All materials are in the RISD Library online catalog  and distinguished by call number location prefixes: SPECIAL or ARTISTS'.


Open hours for 1 to 2 items are 3-4:30 pm Monday, Wednesday-Friday (except when a class visit is scheduled).  For more in depth assistance, please make an appointment.

Food and drink are not allowed in the Reading Room.

Please wash your hands (sink across the hall from the Reading Room as well as bathrooms before the double doors on the 2nd floor).

All bags and coats must be hung up on the coat rack or put in the corner by the coat rack in the Reading Room.

Sketching and Note-taking:

Allowed: pencils, sketchbooks, notebooks, paper, laptops, tablets, phones.

Not allowed: pens, markers, colored pencils, charcoal, paint, ink, etc.

Duplication Options:

All duplication requests for scanning and photocopies are subject to copyright fair use restrictions and condition of the materials. Readers may take digital photographs, with permission.