SAA PEC Biographies

Linda Derry

Description of past and current involvement in public education and outreach

I have been the site director of Old Cahawba , an archaeological park managed by the labama Historical Commission (SHPO), for 25 years.  In this position, I plan and often conduct many public programs in a non-formal setting, design interpretive materials, work with descendant communities, and build public partnerships that actively help to protect and interpret this large multi-faced archaeological site. I have been trained as a Certified Interpretive Guide by the National Association for Interpretation, and teach workshops on

interpretive theory and practice for archaeologists.I also conduct an annual Project Archaeology workshop for teachers for the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

My experience in public archaeology started in the early 1970s. As an undergraduate at outhern Illinois University - Carbondale, I helped coordinate an avocational archaeology Club, and as a summer intern coordinated special public events at state-owned archaeological sites. n State Historic Preservation Offices in Illinois,

Massachusetts, Virginia and Alabama, and in the early 1980s supervised the Peyton Randolph excavation at Colonial Williamsburg where busloads of tourists were invited to observe and interact with my crew on a daily basis.

I have served as a past chair of SAAs Excellence in Public Education Award Program,

on the Society for Historical Archaeologys Public Education and Interpretation Committee, and on both the board and Public Education committee of the Alabama Archaeological Society. In 2006 I receive an award from this avocational archaeology group for outstanding service.I have also served as an officer for the Southeastern region of the National Association for Interpretation.Currently, I am serving as the chairman of the Interpretation Committee of Alabamas Black Belt Heritage Area Task Force which is a regional group striving for NPS Heritage Area Status which promotes heritage tourism and the sustainability of cultural and natural resources. I have also been appointed to Selmas Historic Commission, and to Selmas Renaissance Commission where I promote excellence in environmental issues.Over the years, I have both co-organized and participated in several conference sessions on public archaeology in both the U.S. and abroad, presenting on theoretical issues, applied practice, and interpretative strategies. I have also published on these topics, including as a co-editor of the SAA publication, Archaeologists and Local Communities:Partners in Exploring the Past. This fall, I have been invited to participate in a Wenner - Gren workshop in New York City on the Dynamics of Inclusion in Public Archaeology.

What benefits do you hope to receive as a PEC member?

As a PEC member, I hope to benefit from the fellowship of other practitioners of public archaeology and to be energized by their good work.

What can you offer as a member of the PEC?

I offer the PEC over 35 years of  practical on-the-ground experience in public archaeology. In addition to a graduate degree in archaeology/anthropology, I have training in the field of interpretation through the National Association of Interpretation, so I have toolkit full of ideas about how to make archaeological resources meaningful and relevant to non-archaeologists.  I also offer valuable experience in community based heritage tourism.

Area of interest: My main areas of interest are interpretation for archaeologists, heritage tourism, and community partnerships.

Ability to work as a member of a team in the completion of a project

My ability to work as a member of a team in the completion of a project is illustrated by my past committee work, my completion of > edited volumes, and my service on various regional and community > boards.

Target Audience: Currently I am interested primarily in identifying various segments within the general public , especially those that are most likely to visit and actively preserve

archaeological sites  Also, I am interested in professional archaeologists that want to develop the skills necessary to truly reach these segments.

Availability: Unless unforeseen circumstances emerge, I will be available to attend

SAA through 2013, and should be able to devote additional time during the year since the PEC tasks are relevant to my professional duties.

Support from your employer for your involvement on the PEC My employer will support my travel to SAA unless my agency is hit with additional big budget cutbacks that eliminate out of state travel. I can also >work on PEC tasks during my regular work week but only after my regular job duties are completed.


Updated 4/8/10