As our followers know we are always busy with a variety of tasks in the Section of Archaeology. From excavations at Fort Hunter to the Pennsylvania Farm show, The Workshops in Archaeology program that we do in the fall and everything in between. The common theme that runs through all these events is the importance of outreach to the people of Pennsylvania. A lot of people are interested in archaeology but many don’t realize how most archaeology is accomplished in Pennsylvania or how much history is right beneath their feet. Our past is a non-renewable resource, so the more people are aware of that the better we are able to protect and manage our heritage.
Another form of outreach we participate in are school visits. Yesterday we had a chance to speak with students contemplating their future occupations. We were invited to attend the Career Expo at Middletown Highschool. The students were divided by class, first the juniors then the seniors and so on. As they entered the gym they were instructed to choose a career. They were able to rotate to four careers during the classes allotted time. We, along with numerous other professionals, engaged the students in small groups talking about our careers and answering questions. It was a very nice well-organized program that allowed the kids to speak to a variety of professionals ranging from every branch of the military to physical therapy, nuclear science, archaeology and many, many more.
We shared with them some of the things we do here at the museum, including our role as the central repository for archaeological collections resulting from Cultural Resource Management (CRM) projects. In 1966 the National Historic Preservation Act instituted the Section 106 process of mitigating the effects of federally funded construction projects requiring them to consider the archaeological consequences of their projects. This consideration often requires excavation. The Section of Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania is the central repository for these collections and these projects are in large part the source of over 8 million artifacts (and growing) that we care for in the Section of Archaeology. These CRM projects also employ fresh graduates of archaeology programs nationwide. The requirements for a field tech position are typically a bachelor’s degree and a field school. It would be impossible to display all our artifacts but they do go on lone to other facilities for exhibit and they serve as an invaluable resource to researchers.
We also talked about opportunities available with the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission such as shadowing a curator and the KeystoneInternship program. We have just finished going through the interview process with this year’s applicants. I think it was a rewarding day for all involved and would like to both commend the program organizers Adam Shaffer and Michele Myers on a great program that gave the students an awareness of the many career options available to them; and we thank them for inviting us to attend.
Before closing I would like to remind everyone that this weekend is the Mid Atlantic Archaeological Conference (MAAC) at Virginia Beach, Virginia. It started yesterday so unfortunately if you’re not there you missed the Projectile Point/Lithic Workshop and tour of Ft. Eustis but it runs through Sunday March 18th so there is still a chance to enjoy some great presentations.
For more information, visit PAarchaeology.state.pa.us or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .