Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Archaeologist for a Day: Cultivating Children's Interest in Heritage

Explaining the tools. Photo by Annemarie Christie.

On Friday, July 3 the museum hosted a children's program for the first time called "Be an Archaeologist for a Day." The program was designed to teach children what it is exactly that archaeologists and museum workers do on a day-to-day basis, and also to cultivate their interest in heritage.

We began with a mock archaeological dig. The children were all given tools to dig, and buckets filled with sand and artifacts. The children recovered things like candle holders, dinosaur bones, wooden beads, old coins, thimbles, and much more.

Digging for artifacts. Photo by Annemarie Christie.

Next, we cleaned the artifacts. The children learned that artifacts are very delicate, and so they must be handled with great care. We used toothbrushes and lukewarm water to clean the items they had found when digging. The kids each had an opportunity to share what they had found, which everyone did with great pride. We explained why these artifacts were relevant, which gave the kids a look into the past, and how people used to live. 

To finish things off our Museum Coordinator, Katie, gave a demonstration on how to properly handle artifacts, and how we label them. The kids were amazed at the tiny numbers that are written on each artifact to identify them, and some even decided they wanted to practice writing as small as they could when the demonstration was complete. 

Giving a demonstration on how to properly handle artifacts. Photo by Annemarie Christie. 

It was a wonderful day, as the museum was brought to life with the children's curiosity and intrigue. I asked the kid's at the end of the program if anyone wanted to be an archaeologist when they grow up, and many enthusiastic hands flew into the air. 

We are hoping to host the program again over the course of the summer, so keep your eyes open for information on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Artifacts that have been cleaned and left to dry at the end of the day. Photo by Annemarie Christie. 

-Katie Harvey

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