The Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections of the Montana State University Library is the location for finding comprehensive information on select subject areas. Located on the second floor of the Renne Library, our Burton K. Wheeler Reading Room features a comfortable service area. Special Collections is committed to assembling primary and secondary scholarly materials on specific topics supporting MSU curricular and research needs.

Areas of Collection



The collections are currently comprised of more than 34,000 volumes and 1200 linear feet of manuscript materials.  In addition there are microforms, sound recordings, video recordings, and maps pertaining to all of the above subject areas. Materials are collected in all formats, including original papers and documents, publications, maps, photographs, and videotapes. A record of MSU Library's holdings are available via MSU's online catalog, WLN, and the World Wide Web.

Special Collections is committed to standardizing our finding aids for all of our manuscript holdings. These finding aids will include a statement of provenance, scope and content note, series descriptions, and in most cases, a folder level inventory. New finding aids will be added as they are completed.

University Archives

Manuscript records of Montana State University, including photographic images and vertical file information, are available for research. Published material appearing in the library catalog as location ARCHIVES or SPEC-UPUB will be serviced in the Wheeler Reading Room in Special Collections.

Digital Preservation

Information pertaining preservation of digital collections at MSU Library can be found at Digital Preservation.

Preferred Citation

[Name of document or photograph], [Year if available], [Collection title], Box [Box number], Folder [Folder number], Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections.

Instructions and Rules for Using Our Materials

Please help Special Collections safeguard our valuable and unique materials by observing the following rules:

  • No food or beverages of any kind are allowed.
  • Jackets, coats, backpacks, purses, etc., must be placed in the windowsills or along the wall near the windowsills.
  • Use only pencil when taking notes.
  • Use of personal notebook paper is permitted.
  • Laptop computers are permitted; laptop bags or sleeves are not.
  • Cameras or photographic equipment may be used. Permission to use personal scanners must be obtained prior to visit.
  • Patrons must fill out an application for research privileges and present a picture ID at time of registration. If an application for research privileges exists, please notify assisting staff member.
  • Call slips must be filled out for items requested from each collection. New call slips must be completed at the start of each visit.
  • Hands must be clean to handle materials.
  • Researchers are requested to observe the following:
    • Use one folder from a box at a time
    • Maintain existing order within each folder and box
    • Use placeholder when removing folders
    • Do not remove items from folders--bring entire folder when scanning materials or showing something to staff
    • Notify special collections staff if any materials are damaged or appear out of order
    • Lay folders flat on table when in use
  • All materials must be viewed in the reading room. Materials do not circulate.
  • The use of some materials may be restricted by statute, the office of origin, or by the donor. The researcher must assume full responsibility for fulfilling the terms contracted with any restricted material. Special Collections reserves the right to restrict the use of materials which are not processed, of exceptional value, and/or fragile.
  • For all bound volumes, book supports are available upon request. Book weights are also available upon request. Never put pressure on spines of books.
  • Use only one collection at a time. If part of a group or assisting with research only one box per group and one folder per individual from a box at a time. Do not share/pass folder contents.

Please note the reading room is monitored while researchers and materials are present.