The Anthropology Department is very fortunate to have a strong core of dedicated volunteers, research associates, and students. Without their valuable assistance, we would have a very hard time maintaining the quality of collection care and excellence in public engagement for which we feel immense amounts of pride. We’ve hosted volunteers for many years; some have specific interests which can help to augment our knowledge base, and others simply love the museum and want to help in any way that they can. Students come to us mostly from nearby universities, but occasionally from farther away. We have a long-standing partnership with Duquesne University to fulfill their Masters of Public History Collection Management internships. We’ve hosted students from the University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Humboldt University (California), University College (London), and even students from China, the Netherlands, Australia, and Costa Rica. Our Research Associates fill in knowledge gaps that we lack in the section and use the collections to further their research and contribute to the academic world. Their expertise covers a wide range of topics from zooarchaeology and Eastern Woodlands archaeology to ethnology and cultural anthropology.
I’d like to toot a few horns regarding the annual meeting for the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, which was held in Uniontown, PA on April 5-7th, 2019. Two of our distinguished research associates were interviewed for an oral history project being conducted by representatives of PennDOT, the State Historic Preservation Office of Pennsylvania, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Dr. Mark McConaughy and Dr. William C. Johnson sat down to talk about their unique experiences with the history of archaeology in Pennsylvania. They also presented papers at the conference along with many other research associates. The collection at CMNH was mentioned in 75% of the papers given all weekend!
Three of our outstanding students/volunteers were presented awards at the banquet. Mr. James Barno has been a volunteer in the section for two years. He began as an intern from California University of Pennsylvania and has remained a volunteer since his graduation. He was given this year’s Archey Award, which is presented to members of the Society able to devote only spare time to their archaeological interests. It is given for some significant contribution (or contributions) over an appreciable period toward the unselfish furtherance of archaeology. We’re very proud of him!
Also awarded were two James W. Hatch Scholarships for students presenting at the conference. One went to Tamara Alchoufete, who is our current work-study student from the University of Pittsburgh, and the other went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate student and CMNH volunteer, Kristina Gaugler. Ms. Gaugler was also awarded the W. Fred Kinsey Scholarship, which is given to a student who presents a single authored paper at the meetings. It comes with a complimentary Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology membership and free conference banquet, along with a stipend for research expenses. Congratulations to both!
Cultivating an interest in professional development is something that we can offer to our students and volunteers, besides valuable museum related skills training. Volunteers, students, and research associates are truly our most valuable treasure.
More information on how to volunteer with CMNH can be found here: https://carnegiemnh.org/visitor/things-to-do/volunteer/
More information on the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology can be found here: https://www.pennsylvaniaarchaeology.com/
Amy L. Covell-Murthy is the Archaeology Collection Manager at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.