Monday, July 25, 2016

Public Outreach at FSJ

Hello all, Liz here! Last summer, I was a student in the field school and through that became very passionate about the archaeology that we do. I took on an independent study under Dr. Nassaney in both the fall and spring semesters and this field season, I am returning as one of the public outreach coordinators. I’m so happy to be back in Niles working with the project for a second year!
While the students are busy working on the floodplain, Genna, who is the other public outreach coordinator, and myself are busy trying to promote our summer events. As mentioned in an earlier blog from DJ, we just kicked off our summer lecture series! Don’t worry if you missed this past week’s lecture because we still have three more amazing speakers coming to the Niles District Library on Wednesday nights at 7pm in the coming weeks. This Wednesday we will have Allison Hoock, a M.A. graduate from WMU, present on Native American and Euro-American Settlements of the St. Joseph River Valley. On August 3rd, Terrance Martin, Curator Emeritus of the Illinois State Museum will be here and to conclude our series on August 10th, Kenneth Sassaman of the University of Florida will review his work of the St. Johns River of Northeast Florida. These lectures are always very informative and there is a question and answer opportunity following the talk. 

Hanging flyers around Main Street! (Photo Credit: Genna Perry)
Of course, what we’re all most excited about is our annual Open House on Saturday, August 6th and Sunday, August 7th from 10-4. This year, we will have a variety of activities for the public to be a part of! At the open house, you will experience live period demonstrations at our Living History Village. You will be able to visit our outdoor museum and view recent artifacts from this field season and even some past seasons. The most exciting event taking place at our open house is watching history come to life right in front of you.  You will be able to witness on site excavations and wet screening demonstrations. This is a family friendly event, so feel free to bring your kids to participate in our children’s activities. Our students have been working really hard to make this open house a great experience for all attendees, so come see all their hard work!

Giving a tour to the YMCA Summer My Way campers! (Photo Credit: Genna Perry)
I think one of the most exciting parts of my job is getting to engage with so many members from the Niles community. Our first week here, I gave a tour to the YMCA Summer My Way campers of the site and talked to them about the importance of the St. Joseph River from the time of the fort's occupation until today. Genna and I have been attending French Market every Thursday and have loved spreading the word to some of you about our project and our events. We have been so lucky to have been hosted by great people and organizations for community meals, where students get to share stories and memories of the fort with others from around the area. It’s things like this that make us feel so at home during our stay here. I know I love what I’m doing and the students love what they’re doing because you all love what we’re doing. Without the continuous support from community members, none of this would be possible. We can’t thank the community of Niles enough and we hope to see you at the rest of our summer events!
Hanging out at French Market! (Photo Credit: Genna Perry)

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