SAA PEC Biographies

Lynn M. Alex

Director of Education and Outreach, University of Iowa-Office of the State Archaeologist
700 South Clinton Street Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Description of past and current involvement in public education and outreach

Since 1976 in my position in public education for the Office of the State Archaeologist–University of Iowa (1975-1976; 1991–current), as an adjunct instructor in the Departments of Anthropology and Continuing Education at the University of Iowa, and as an adjunct assistant professor for the Liberal Arts Department, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, I have prepared and presented educational programming on archaeology to K-12 teachers and students, the general public, and university students. These include classes, field schools, workshops, and talks; written materials (including two books); video and DVD scripts; and exhibit content. My two books on Iowa archaeology, published by the University of Iowa Press (1980 and 2000), were written for a general audience. I also had a major role in the preparation and content for an educational program aimed at 4th grade learners and educators entitled Iowa’s P.A.S.T. Programming Archaeology for School Teachers.

Since 1999, first as public archaeology coordinator, and since 2003 as Director of Education and Outreach, for the Office of the State Archaeologist–University of Iowa, I have designed, planned, and coordinated, an annual statewide event entitled Iowa Archaeology Month, prepared a series of traveling resource boxes entitled Time Capsules from the Past, taught summer teacher’s workshops, and written pamphlets on Iowa prehistory and archaeology. These and other projects have enlisted my time in planning, grant writing, and coordination of 500 outreach events over the past five years.

My education committee of seven liaisons with K-12 educators to plan and present resources and programming. We extend programming to dozens of museums, historical societies, and libraries statewide; provide job shadowing experiences and tours to K-12 students and teachers, and utilize University of Iowa work study students. We also partner with the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa and the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska to design educational materials.

At present I serve on the team for Project Archaeology, as an advisor and presenter to Iowa Public Television, “Schools-to-Careers” K-12 distance learning project, on the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village’s (Mitchell, South Dakota) scientific advisory board, and the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center’s Board of Directors (specifically as an advocate for their outreach and education program).

Interest in PEC Membership

I am pleased to be a new member of the PEC (2004) to assist in forwarding the organization’s mission, interact with other professionals in the subfield of public education, and share ideas and strategies. Too often we have found ourselves in Iowa trying to reinvent a wheel that was already designed, tested, and running. I also believe that an association with the PEC offers a level of professionalism and legitimization for our efforts that resonates not only with the public but with the professional community itself.

Area of interest: teaching multigenerational audiences about archaeology through the creation of programming and resources; writing. I would also like to see the PEC develop guidelines and curriculum ideas for a degree specialty in public archaeology education.

Target audience: multigenerational