by Bernard K. Means
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the high school class of Emmett Hickam, a history teacher at Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, Virginia. Emmett teaches advanced students in American history, and for the third year invited me to speak about New Deal archaeology to his class. I am always happy to do this, because, while his students are understandably not familiar with New Deal archaeology, they are knowledgeable about the Great Depression in general. The students were engaged and asked numerous questions.
One difference between this lecture and those the last two years is that I had printed plastic replicas of artifacts recovered in the 1930s from sites excavated by a Work Projects Administration crew in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The students liked holding these replicas of the past, which I was able to pass around the class room. In general, I find in my public outreach efforts that having something tangible sparks conversations more than images alone–regardless of how striking I feel the images are.