Saturday, March 29, 2014

Elfreth’s Alley Museum Reopening!

After a long and harsh winter season, the Museum of Elfreth’s Alley is reopening next weekend!  Starting on April 4th, the Museum will resume giving guided tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12 to 5pm.

Come join in the revelry as the Museum hosts several events to celebrate the reopening next weekend.  On Friday April 4th there will be free tours from 5-8pm.  Then on Saturday April 5th the
Alley will be alive from 12-5pm with a yard sale, a bake sale, music, dance, and a few presentations.  I will be at the Alley on Saturday to give a brief talk around 2:30pm about the archaeology conducted on the Alley and showcase a few of the artifacts recovered. Come by and enjoy the festivities!  Note that if Saturday is rainy, Sunday April 6th is the rain date. 

The Museum’s Facebook page and Twitter account have more details about the reopening.

AAUW Discover the Future Event in Lansdale

Archaeologist's tools & jar with sample stratigraphy
Last weekend I had the opportunity to host a workshop about archaeology for middle schoolers at Pennbrook Middle School.  The activity was part of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Lansdale Branch’s annual ‘Discover the Future’ event.  The event is a way to introduce young girls (and boys) to the wide range of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  Throughout the day, women with careers throughout STEM held workshops about topics ranging from aeronautics to veterinary medicine. It was a great event with more than 100 students in attendance.

Workshop Classroom setup with clipboards for artifact analysis

During the day I held a workshop explaining what archaeology is and what archaeologists do.  I gave a brief cash course in soil science, stratigraphy, and the basics of excavation; then the students got the opportunity to practice artifact analysis as well as clean real artifacts.  It was a lot of fun working with budding archaeologists!

Here is a link to the local newspaper that tells a little more about the event.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Historical Marker at Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley will receive a Historical Marker during 2014!  The Alley will gets it vert own navy and gold sign like so many across the city.  The Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program is run through the PA State Historic Preservation office and aims to publicize the locations of important people, places, events, and innovations in Pennsylvania history.  As the PA Historical Marker website states, Elfreth's Alley is an "impeccably preserved vernacular neighborhood in the heart of Philadelphia - one of the nation's oldest and a National Historic Landmark. There have been extensive studies of these homes, their owners, and the area's transformation over its nearly 300 years of existence, shedding light on a very diverse working class community."  This is exciting new for the Alley!  Check out the Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office for more details about other approved markers for 2014!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Artifact Processing Recommences

Scheduling lab days has proven difficult this winter, but artifact processing is back underway!  We have begun to get the artifacts from the 2013 field season washed, sorted, cataloged, and rebagged.

Volunteers Gail & Gen back in lab and hard at work
Check back soon for more updates from processing.  The Volunteer Opportunities section will have the most up-to-date information about days and times for processing.

Society for Historical Archaeology’s John L. Cotter Award

I am excited to report that I received the John L. Cotter Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA).  I accepted the award at the Society’s annual conference in Quebec City, Canada last month.  I received the award “For the Elfreth’s Alley Archaeology project, where her efforts in the field and in the laboratory have enriched public archaeology in Philadelphia and provided the public with a positive, interactive view of historical archaeology and its role in public discourse.”  More details about the award are available on SHA’s website.

(Photo Credit: Dr. Christopher P. Barton)

Accepting the award (Photo Credit: Jess Barton)

I am truly honored to have received this prestigious award and hope to follow in the impressive footsteps of the historical archaeologists who have received the award before.  A special thanks to Wendy Miervaldis who has volunteered with me at Elfreth’s Alley for the past two years and who thoughtfully nominated me for the award!  None of it would have been possible without her dedication and support!

Photo Opportunity with Wendy & Dr. David Orr, my advisor at Temple University (Photo Credit: Jess Barton)
I am so happy that I have gotten involved in public archaeology - it has become my passion and allows be to combine my love of archaeological research, teaching, and community outreach. Working with the public and volunteers has been one of the most rewarding parts of my project. I am ever indebted to my volunteers for their impact on my research and my life. I am thrilled about the award and the good things to come! Thank you again to all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Spirit on Elfreth’s Alley

Festive Decorations on the Alley!
Elfreth’s Alley’s annual holiday event, Deck the Alley, was a great success this past weekend.  Despite the crisp weather, visitors came out in droves to check out the houses and celebrate the holidays.  The night was complete with carolers, homemade ginger bread men, and hot apple cider!  I had a chance to speak with a lot of visitors about the archaeology that has been at 124 and 126 Elfreth’s Alley.  It was a great event and fun was had by all. Thanks to all who came out to support the Alley! 

Visitors behind the Museum of Elfreth's Alley
Carolers on the Alley
Discussing Archaeology on the Alley

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deck the Alley

Elfreth’s Alley’s annual event Deck the Alley is slated to take place on December 7th from 3 – 7pm.  Each year the private residents of Alley kindly open up the first floor of their homes for visitors to explore.  Other activities include story telling, refreshments, and book signings.  Like past years, I will be on hand to discuss the archaeological investigations completed at the Alley. This a really fun event with lots of holiday cheer.  For more information about the event and to buy tickets check out the Ticket Leap Even Page. 

Story Telling at Deck the Alley, 2012