Event Details

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An Outline for Teaching Curation in the Classroom and in the Field [Deeper Digs]

When: November 29, 2023 2:00-4:00 PM ET

Duration: 2 hours

Certification: RPA-Certified


Individual Registration: Individual Registration: $99 for SAA members; $149 for non-members

Group Registration: Group Registration: $139 for SAA members; $189 for non-members

Dr. Tamira Brennan, PhD, RPA, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, University of Illinois

Dr. Tamira Brennan has been practicing archaeology for over 20 years in the Midwestern US, primarily in a research-based CRM setting. The first 17 years of her career included time as the Coordinator of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey’s American Bottom field station and as an instructor on many archaeological field schools in Illinois and Missouri. More recently, she has served as a curator, first at the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and presently at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, where she strives to work out creative solutions to address collections needs in a field that routinely underfunds curation. She has taught collections management to undergrads/graduate students in several formats, including traditional classroom/lab, internships, and most recently as a 4-week field school through the Institute for Field Research.

This seminar provides a framework for teaching curation/collections management in archaeology in two formats: as a matter of course within a general archaeology curriculum, and as a specialized class with a focus on experiential learning, either in a traditional classroom/laboratory setting or as an intensive field school. Individuals with no prior experience in curation and those with a strong curation background will benefit alike, as participants will walk away with the tools to improve unfunded archaeological collections in a novel way and understand how to better teach and uphold the SAA principles of ethics and RPA Standards of Research Performance in relation to what is left once an excavation has occurred - its collections.

  1. To help professional archaeologists avoid unknowingly contributing to the curation crisis (and therefore failing to meet RPA standards/SAA Code of ethics) by discussing the genesis of it, as well as common missteps made by practitioners in our field today
  2. To provide a starting point/framework for general archaeologists (non-curators) to incorporate curation into undergrad/grad curriculum either as a stand-alone class, or as a unit within a general archaeology course as a matter of course
  3. To frame curation as salvage archaeology and promote the potential of collections work as “field work”
  4. To lay out a framework for successfully teaching curation as field work