Southeast Missouri State University
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Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNIVERSITY MUSEUM PLANNING 'DISCOVERY DAYS' IN CELEBRATION OF MISSOURI ARCHAEOLOGY MONTH

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 30, 2002 - Storytelling, children's programming and archaeological exhibits are among the lineup of activities planned in September as the Southeast Missouri State University Museum celebrates Missouri Archaeology Month.

"This will be a chance for children and adults to come discover Native American culture through objects, techniques, and stories," said Andrea Morrill, University Museum curator of education. "I hope that adults and children will learn some new things and have fun doing it."

Discovery Days, which are free and recommended for children ages 7 and up and their families, are planned for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7 and 28 in and around the Southeast Missouri State University Museum, located in Memorial Hall. A special lecture also is planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 17.

The events, which are designed with discovery stations to explore what archaeology has taught people about Native American life, and the lecture are part of Missouri Archaeology Month sponsored by the Missouri Archaeological Society, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office, and the Missouri Association of Professional Archaeologists.

"The "Discovery Days" are for families and any group of adults and children to come enjoy themselves together at the Museum," Morrill said, adding that supervision is not provided for unaccompanied children, and one adult for every two children is recommended.

On Sept. 7, the University Museum will hold its first "Discovery Day," which will feature storytelling, hands-on archaeology activities, flintknapping demonstrations, and a weapons and tools station.

Special guest Marilyn Kinsella will share a part of Native American culture with visitors when she tells traditional Native American stories in the galleries of the University Museum. Kinsella is a veteran storyteller and has been a member of the Riverwind Storytellers since they originated in 1982. She has an engaging and animated style which will entertain all ages, Morrill said.

Joining Kinsella will be her husband Larry Kinsella, who will demonstrate traditional Native American techniques to visitors with a flintknapping presentation. Flintknapping is the process that was used to sharpen rocks into points for tools and weapons such as the spear, bow and arrow, and pump drill. Rocks, bones and antlers are used in this fascinating process, she said.

Throughout the day, visitors will have the opportunity to see and touch replicas of Native American tools and weapons like the atlatl (a spear-thrower), bow and arrow, pump drill and blow gun. Weather permitting, visitors will get to try these items out on the lawn behind Memorial Hall. In the event of inclement weather, these items will be on display inside the Museum.

In addition to trying out weapons and tools, visitors can try their hands at becoming amateur archaeologists. Visitors will get to see and touch reproductions or pieces of Native American artifacts discovered through archaeology. Morrill says visitors will compare these pieces to items on display in the cases and make hypotheses about the original form or use for the object in their hand in an activity that reflects part of the processes of archaeologists.

"This should be a fun, investigative activity," Morrill said.

In connection with Archaeology Month activities, Jim Phillips, University Museum curator of collections, will present a lecture for all interested adults and college students on Sept. 17 titled "Archaeology and Artifacts: A Look at Collecting Practices of the Late 1800s." The talk is planned for 7 p.m. in the Museum Galleries. Phillips' talk will focus on the interest in archaeology and collecting in the 19th century and why people are still collecting objects today.

Phillips will lead a guided tour of the Museum's Beckwith Collection after the lecture. The Thomas Beckwith Collection of Mississippian Artifacts, part of the Museum's permanent display, contains elaborate effigy ceramics and an extensive collection of stone tools found by Beckwith near and around Charleston, Mo., in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is one of the most complete collections of Mississippian period ceramics in this part of the country and it provides unique insights into the culture and lives of prehistoric Native peoples of this region.

Throughout the month, Phillips will be available to lead guided tours of the Beckwith Collection. Tours are available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Museum's second "Discovery Day" is planned for Sept. 28, when participants will again get to assume the role of amateur archaeologists and see pottery being made with traditional methods. Lisa Crews will create pottery using Southeastern Native America techniques, particularly those of the Mississippian and Caddoan cultures. Crews will produce shell-tempered ceramics, including pinch pots, effigies and bowls, and she will demonstrate the ring coil technique, Morrill said. Crews' work also will be available for purchase, she said.

 

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