The DMNS anthropology collections support many types of public events throughout the year. Science on the Spot is a 3-hour pop-up on the public floor, in which we pull out collections that typically have never been on public view. We hold several Member's Nights throughout the year, and bring collections out for special event days and on-site lectures and programs. The most rewarding part of my job is when we are able to build relationships with Native American groups through connections made to items from their ancestors.
The University of Iowa Libraries partnered with campus museums and the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids for a pilot of History Harvest, a digitization drive in which visitors could share the stories behind items from their community or family history and learn how to preserve them. At the end of the process, participants and the AAMI received digitized copies of their photographs or documents. I drew upon my digitization skillset to create high-quality scans and record metadata about the objects using guidelines from the AAMI and other institutions that have done similar events. This pilot is now being used as a model for more History Harvest events in the eastern Iowa area.
At the Office of the State Archaeologist, I presented in outreach events at the main office and public booths at the Iowa State Fair and RAGBRAI route stops. I adapted content to the different cities each day, as well as held giveaways and demonstrated Native American children’s games and food processing techniques.
I have worked Members' Nights at the Field Museum, both in monitoring large groups of people viewing collections storage, and giving demonstrations of artifact housing. I explained the significance of the Kish site and the types of artifacts I was working on, the selection and importance of archival materials, and box construction techniques to a general audience.