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Sources of Knowledge: Leiden University Libraries Special Collections


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History.


Students will learn about the origins of the Leiden University collections and how these sources of knowledge relate to academic educational practice throughout the ages. Apart from the library collections special attention will be paid to collections of realia in the domain of medicine and the natural sciences, which includes collections of drawings and photographs. This course will also address the opportunities to make use of special collections in the educational practice and (scholarly) research of today.

Course Objectives

  • Being able to classify, characterize and analyze the Leiden heritage collections

  • Being able to distinguish the most important types of collections and heritage within the Leiden context and identify similarities and differences with other European collections.

  • Knowing why and in what ways individuals and institutions have collected objects and have established heritage collections within the university and the Leiden museums.

  • Basic knowledge of the ways in which heritage collections in the course of time have been made accessible to various audiences.


Draft timetable: Monday 11-13 hrs and Wednesday 15-17 hrs (two times a week!).

Please note: for the final schedule refer to Collegeroosters / Timetable on the Art History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures, combined with practical sessions in the Leiden University Special Collections.

Course Load

Course load in summary: 5 ects (140 hrs)

Assessment method

  • Mid-term Lecture/Oral presentation (30% of the grade)

  • Final paper (70% of the grade)

Compensation: the weighted average mark should be at least 6.0 (rounded at one decimal).
Resit: if the weighted average is less than 6.0, only the final paper can be re-written (once)


Blackboard will be used in this course.


To be announced.


Via Usis

Registration Studeren à la Carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dhr. Drs. K. (Kasper) van Ommen


The maximum number of participants for this course is set to 2 × 25.