Practicum: Mining Library Treasures

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KNIR’s Rare Books Collection

In collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and KB National Library of the Netherlands

Deeply hidden in the basement of the KNIR, a secret treasure is waiting to be unveiled: a unique collection of over 500 rare books, mostly from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and covering a wide array of topics related to Italy and Rome.

In this KNIR-practicum, an intensive course for BA and MA students in history of the book, (art)history, archaeology and related disciplines, students will gain hands-on experience in exploring this thus far largely unstudied collection.

The course combines lectures and practical workshops with excursions to famous libraries in Rome such as the Biblioteca Angelica and the Biblioteca Casanatense, and offers wide-ranging insights on the history of reading and on the present prospects and challenges of special library collections. Participants will choose a specific topic for individual study from the KNIR’s collection, such as atlases and other topographical works, albums with reproductions of artworks, heraldica, architecture treatises, collections of cityscapes, vedute of ancient monuments, travel accounts, monumental histories, memorial books and many others. The course culminates in a digital exhibition of some highlights of the KNIR collection, curated by the participants.

Course format and assessment
The course is organized by and hosted at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). It consists of a 7 days intensive seminar period in Rome, with workshops, library assignments, excursions and self-study. Before and after the seminar participating students work independently on two written assignments:
• Before arriving in Rome: introductory workshop, independent study of course material and preparatory assignment: 1 ECTS (28 hours).
• Intensive course period in Rome (7 days), including final assignment and contribution for digital exposition: 2 ECTS (56 hours).

Each student should arrange with his/her home coordinator whether the course can be a part of the existing curriculum. After successful completion of the course the KNIR provides a certificate mentioning study load and evaluation.

Tuition and lodging at the KNIR is free for selected participants from the above mentioned Dutch universities. Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay.

Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical center of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet.* All residents have 24/7 access to the library and gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute.

* The KNIR accommodations comply with all safety and health requirements, also in light of  COVID-19.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621