Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Museum Explorers’ Night a Go!

            On Thursday, February 12, we celebrated the opening of the exhibit Evidence Found! at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum with a reception entitled Museum Explorers’ Night. Joseph Hines of Project Arts and Ideas did a fantastic job creating the display in collaboration with Dr. Michael Nassaney and the Museum. Dozens of curious spectators joined us that evening to discover the new displays. There were a number of events that night including a special children’s event, a lecture given by Dr. Michael Nassaney, and a really nice reception sponsored by the Michigan Society for Colonial Wars. Aaron Howard, my fellow Fort St. Joseph intern, and I were also in attendance promoting the Project, the Niles History Center, the Historic Chapin Mansion in Niles, and our annual summer camp program.
Attendees gaze at the many exciting aspects of the new exhibit.
            The exhibit, which officially opened Saturday February 14 and runs until August 31, highlights the importance of archaeology through various displays covering a number of different sites from all over the globe, including Fort St. Joseph. The exhibit looks great and turnout was better than expected with a wide variety of interested spectators. Artifacts from a wide range of time periods were on display as well as some of the tools used by archaeologists when conducting field excavations and laboratory work. There were also hands-on activities that explain key concepts of the discipline in ways relatable to people who might not have any prior knowledge of what archaeology is and how it works.
            There was also a children’s gameshow put together by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum staff which was  held in the auditorium. The audience had to choose who the real archaeologist was and who was fictional and made their choices based off of several factors including the archaeologists’ clothing, introductory statements from the four candidates, and questions from the audience.

Can you tell the difference between a real and fake archaeologist?

            The highlight of the evening was a lecture given by Dr. Michael Nassaney to a full audience in the auditorium of the museum. During the lecture, Dr.Nassaney explained to an eager audiencethe development of the new exhibit, the  goals of archaeology, what archaeologists have learned from some sites in southwest Michigan, and the important work at Fort St. Joseph that highlighted inferences about 18th century life at the fort.

            Overall it was a great event hosted by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Many people enjoyed the event which could not have been made possible without the hard work of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum staff, Joseph Hines, Dr. Michael Nassaney, the Michigan Society for Colonial Wars, and various others who contributed.

Dr. Michael Nassaney gives a talk on archaeology "in our own backyards."

John Cardinal
Fort St. Joseph Museum Intern

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