Thursday, June 25, 2015

Media Day

Hey everyone this is Carmell again,
                Today was media day at the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological site and unfortunately we were met with a little rain. Because of the rain and the Fort St. Joseph site still being slightly flooded we had to improvise a little bit with our preparation, placing our artifact cases and panels underneath our tents. There were a number of people at the media day opening including the City of Niles Mayor Michael McCauslin who had a chance to express his appreciation for the work we were doing in Niles. Also at the opening was Dr. Timothy Greene, the Provost at Western Michigan University and Robert Myers the Co-chair of the 2015 Open House Committee, along with some other members of the Niles community and media. Dr. Nassaney welcomed all who were there with a description of the theme we had for the 2015 dig season “Seeking Shelter from the Storm” which focused on architecture at Fort St. Joseph. The goal of this year’s field season was finding architectural artifacts of the eighteenth century to help give a clearer picture of how French colonial buildings were being constructed.
Traditional ribbon cutting at Fort St. Joseph!
(photo by Aaron Howard)
                Also addressed at the media opening were volunteers that have helped us to make the project possible. Every year at the media opening, a Volunteer of the Year award is given out to an individual or group of individuals. This year the award has gone to the Drolet Family who have been integral parts on this project even before there was any archaeological work done in the area. Donna, the matriarch of the family, was unable to attend but her daughter Margrit Hansen was able to accept the award on her mother and family’s behalf. Many volunteers have given their time, energy, and some even have helped us out with monetary donations. Some individuals like Neil Hassinger and his wife Cathy have spent a lot of their time making lunches for the archaeological field crew and maintaining a system of pumps to pump out the ground water from our site.
Margrit Hansen receives the Volunteer of the Year award
on behalf of the Drolet family.
(photo by Aaron Howard)
                 The Daughters of the American Revolution and Kiawanis Club have also been very kind to help us out in providing meals to us. There are many other volunteers who have helped us greatly, providing services to help us store our artifacts, provide us a warm shower, and to even provide us a place to stay while we are here in Niles. Finishing up our media open house, Austin George, another student from Western Michigan University, gave a brief speech summarizing what we have learned while here in Niles at the Fort St. Joseph site. Austin also mentioned that we have grown into a family while living with each other for the six weeks that we have been in Niles. He mentioned that we have had to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to make things work and to overcome challenges.
                We continue to get more excited as we draw nearer to the open house to Fort St. Joseph which is coming up in less than 48 hours now. Today was a small glimpse of what Saturday and Sunday will look like for us. We expect Saturday to be a really exciting day. We have a number of historical interpreters that will be coming to the site to give people a visual idea of how people lived and what life was like during the French colonial era at Fort St. Joseph. The reenactors will even be putting up small tents and structures similar to what would be used during the French colonial times and one of our volunteer interpreters will be making colonial food. We also were fortunate enough to have members from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi begin construction on a wigwam on site. There will be many things to look forward to during our open house. It will be very gratifying for us students to finally be able to share to the public what we have been working on for this past 7 weeks. We can’t wait until Saturday and Sunday to see the work we’ve done come together. It’s our hope to see you there too.


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