The word, archeology, always seems to catch people’s attention. Whenever I mention that I work with archeological artifacts, people generally want to know more. Usually when people ask about my job, I explain the various tasks that I complete during a day at the lab. I wash, sort, identify, classify, catalog, and pack artifacts for long-term curation. This work is, needless to say, very interesting to me. This past Saturday, I was reminded why it is so vitally important.
On Saturday, I helped introduce visitors to the archeological collection at Minute Man National Historical Park during the park’s Battle Road Open House. Visitors were invited to view a sample of the artifacts recovered during various excavations on park property, and I was on hand to identify these artifacts and answer questions about them. Most people seemed fascinated to see and learn about the items we had on display. A glass seal, a writing slate, a counterweight for measuring dry goods, a clay wig curler. All of these artifacts led at least one visitor to ask, “What is that?” The answers evoked smiles of understanding and further conversation about how the artifacts were used and by whom.
To me, witnessing and facilitating learning like this is such a rewarding part of my job. Every day that I am at work, I do my part to preserve and document artifacts that tell the story of our country’s history. At one point during the open house, I heard the sound of running and an excited young boy call out, “Archeology!” That kind of excitement about history and its material remains is the reason I love what I do. Next time I am asked about my job, I’ll be sure to talk about one of the most important parts: I inspire learning.