Brooklyn College
Department of History

Minor in Archival Studies and Community Documentation

The first of its kind within the City University of New York, the program complements course work with diverse, supervised internship opportunities and field experiences in a variety of New York City cultural organizations, including museums, archives, and educational institutions. Intellectually, the minor offers students the opportunity to cultivate a deeper understanding of New York's local communities -- their history, geography, culture, folklore, religions, politics, and social structure. Practically, the minor enables students to explore potential careers in various fields that draw on the study of community and archives.

The minor is open to students majoring variety of disciplines. It would be particularly useful to students engaged in the study of community (for example, in the fields of anthropology, ethnic or American studies, history, music, political science, psychology, and sociology) and to education majors who intend to study community in their elementary- and secondary-school classrooms.

More Information and Applications
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Aims of the Minor

The minor in Archival Studies and Community Documentation: 

  • Provides students with the intellectual and pre- professional foundation necessary for full participation in an internship. 
  • Places students in supervised internships in archives, libraries, museums, local history and historical restoration projects, and educational institutions. 
  • Helps students to explore prospective careers in professions related to community history and its documentation. 
  • Offers education majors fieldwork experience in community history that will enable them to prepare enriched curricula for their students. 
  • Promotes the documentation, preservation, and interpretation of New York City's local communities, drawing on the Brooklyn College Archives as a resource and repository for these activities. 
  • Fosters ongoing interchanges between Brooklyn College and our neighboring communities, their people, and their institutions. 


A key component of the minor in Archival Studies and Community Documentation is an internship program in which students gain firsthand experience by working in local organizations. This critical field experience will provide a foundation in archival management and community history and offer students the opportunity to make important contacts with professional archivists, curators, educators, and public historians. Typical activities of interns include processing archival collections, researching community history projects, assisting in the production of Web sites or CD-ROMS, and organizing local history exhibitions and curricula.

Internship sites, which are described in the Internship Site brochure, include: 

  • American Social History Project 
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum 
  • Brooklyn Museum of Art 
  • Brooklyn Historical Society 
  • Brooklyn Public Library City Lore 
  • Ellis Island Immigration Museum 
  • Erasmus Hall Museum of Education 
  • Lefferts Homestead 
  • Lesbian Herstory Archives 
  • New York State Archives and Records Administration 
  • Prospect Park Alliance 
  • Robert F Wagner Labor Archives 
  • Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant


Students must complete 15 credits for the minor, consisting of two courses in theory and methodology (6 credits); one community-focused course (3 credits); and two internship courses (6 credits). Two of the required classroom courses must be completed before students begin their internships. 

Theory and methodology courses (6 credits)
Students must take both courses.

History 69.1 Introduction to Archival Management 

The role of the archivist in historical research. Theoretical and historical basis of archival management. Types of archives. Applications of modern archival practices. The Brooklyn College archives will serve as the student's laboratory. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. 

History  69.2 Oral History: Theory and Practice

Theory of oral history interviewing and field-based application. Preparing for, conducting, and transcribing oral history interviews. Reviewing legal and ethical issues. Analyzing the relationship between history and memory Studying the use of life-history narratives in print, film, television, radio, exhibitions, performance, community history projects, and educational institutions, including school classrooms. 
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor 

Community-focused courses (3 credits)
Students must take one community-focused course, selected from the list below, which must be in a department other than their major.Subject matter is related to the general focus of the internships - the study of local community. For course descriptions, see the current Brooklyn College Undergraduate Bulletin.

Africana Studies 41:The Black Urban Experience
American Studies 61: New York City Folklore 
Anthropology 37: Urban Anthropology
Archaeology 2.21: Archaeology Laboratory
Art History 15.20: Modern Art
History 44: The History of New York City
History 44.1: Brooklyn History
History 43.16: Immigration and Ethnicity in American History
Judaic Studies 48.5:Jews of New York 
Music 3: Music in New York City
Political Science 25: Urban Government and Politics
Political Science 38: Racial and Ethnic Politics in Urban America
Political Science 75.2: Community Power Analysis
Psychology 10: Social Psychology
Puerto Rican and Latino Studies 32.5: Institutions of Urban Life and the Latino Experience
Sociology 26: Urban Sociology

Internship courses (6 credits)
Students must have completed two classroom courses (listed above) before they may begin their internships.

History 78. I and 78.2 Internships in Public History I and II

Nine hours of fieldwork per week. Applied training in such areas of public history as archival and museum management, mounting historical exhibits, and collection classification. To be pursued in conjunction with an institution outside the college under the supervision.of a faculty member from the History Department. Students will chronicle their field experience. Prerequisite: History 69.1 or permission of the chairperson. 

For more information and applications, contact:

Philip F. Napoli
521 Whitehead Hall
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
Department of History
Brooklyn, New York 11210
(718) 951-5323

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