Get Involved

Throughout the year Holding History coordinates a series of events that seek to connect the history of media to the art and craft of bookmaking. Public-facing opportunities for bookish conversation and discovery all events are accessible and offered at no cost to participants. Holding History would not be possible without our dedicated students, faculty organizers, community members, institutional partners, and supporters.


If you are an undergraduate or graduate student at UW-Madison, Holding History offers a chance to work with rare books and archival materials and to learn how to effectively share your ideas and research with a broad public audience.  You’ll also get the chance to learn how books have been put together for centuries through hands-on workshops in papermaking, letterpress printing, and more.  


If you are a scholar, maker, or community member and would like to be involved in Holding History, please send us a note and share a little about yourself and your interests in our program.   

HH Student Experiences 

"Holding History has taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: The way we convey our knowledge is as important as knowledge itself.  As an English major with aspirations for medical school, I already knew the importance of learning the facts.  Working with old books has made me realize that the way we package our ideas matters.  It matters whether we choose to bind our knowledge between book covers, teach them from a podium, or email them as a url.  Holding History has radically and beneficially altered the way I present my knowledge, interact with people, and conduct research.  Holding History has truly been the highlight of my undergraduate career."

Ryan Hussey (Student Curator 2015-2016, HH Alumni Peer Mentor)



Holding History is open to University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in special collections research, making and craft, and in learning to share their work with a public audience. 

HH also has opportunities for faculty, artists, and community curators not associated with the university.


Holding History holds one Hands-On Workshop and one Keynote Event each semester.  Student Curators serve as facilitators for Papermaking in Library Mall and Typewriters at the Terrace, welcoming community members to try their hands at book arts activities.  Those who participate in the Keynote Event commit to two research sessions and the event itself.


Holding History explores and works in archives across campus - from field trips to the Herbarium Library and Zoological Museum to sessions at Special Collections, Wisconsin Historical Society, and Kohler Art Library.  Hands-on Workshops take place in a variety of locations with transportation provided for off campus activities.


Access centuries of knowledge and ideas.  Develop research relationships with faculty, book artists, and media scholars.  Learn how to synthesize your work in public presentations to an intergenerational audience.  Network with HH alums across the world.

How much?

Holding History offers free hands-on workshops and access to special collections across campus free of charge. There are no fees associated with participation as a student curator in the program.

Is HH a Student Org?

Holding History is not a Registered Student Organization at this time.

Generous Support for Holding History is provided by Friends of UW-Madison Libraries.

Is it a Class?

Holding History is an educational program that is extracurricular in nature and is not tied to required enrollment in a specific credit course. However, Professor Calhoun (HH Co-Director) regularly teaches courses on book history, nature writing, and Shakespeare that dovetail nicely with the program. Contact us regarding current offerings.

Count me in!

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Holding History Student Curator, send us an email at

to be added to our mailing list.  We’ll be in touch and will also make sure you receive invites to future events.