03/28/2012 06:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Undergraduate Visitor to the Harry Ransom Center

Since its founding, the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has been an important resource for undergraduates. Founder Harry Ransom believed that a meaningful undergraduate education was not complete without exposure to rare books and manuscripts.

The Ransom Center continues to maintain this vision to encourage undergraduate interaction with its collections and is launching a new resource that provides information about the many opportunities available to undergraduates.

An undergraduate can read The Grapes of Wrath and then visit the Ransom Center to view the handwritten journal John Steinbeck kept while writing the novel. Undergraduates can attend more than 50 free programs throughout the year to hear a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, view a performance, or watch a film screening. Undergraduates can absorb a semester's worth of material on a given topic in a single Ransom Center exhibition. While sitting in the Reading and Viewing Room alongside leading scholars from around the world, an undergraduate can prepare to write an original research paper based on the archives of such luminaries as poet Anne Sexton, actor Robert De Niro, or writer Samuel Beckett. Undergraduate interns, work-study students, and student volunteers gain experience assisting with exhibitions, cataloging projects, and publicity campaigns.

Through exposure to and interaction with collection materials -- whether it be a manuscript, photograph, artwork, or rare book -- students can open the door to the creative process.