Date of Award:

6-1-2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Advisor/Chair:

Judson B. Finley

Abstract

Archaeologists are increasingly asked to justify the meaning and importance of their work to the public through the development of outreach and education programs. As repositories of culture, museums provide a perfect medium to assist in the promotion of an archaeology that is both relevant and engaging. Many archaeology education programs advocate “doing” or “learning about” archaeology, placing strict emphasis upon stewardship messages and the dangers associated with looting and site destruction. While this approach to teaching makes excellent sense from a modern cultural resource management perspective, it fails to portray archaeology education in any other light.

Archaeology exhibits particular relevance within public schools, whose population holds one of the discipline’s largest, most inclusive captive audiences. This paper explores the most effective strategies for teaching archaeology to third and fourth grade students in the museum. I assess student level of engagement with object- and scientific skills-based activities, and results of a pilot study conducted at the Utah State University Museum of Anthropology indicate a need for more object-based curricula within archaeology education programs. Detailed consideration of archaeology’s relevance to skills developed within the social, physical, and life sciences highlights areas of focus and improvement in current and future programs.

Included in

Anthropology Commons

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