SAA PEC Biographies

Renata B. Wolynec

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Department of History and Anthropology, Edinboro, PA 16444
Phone: 814-732-2570 (w), 814-734-4056 (h), FAX:  814-732-2118, wolynec@edinboro.edu

Description of past and current involvement in public outreach and education

I have taught in the Anthropology Program at Edinboro University of PA for thirty years.  As such, my primary obligation is to provide general education courses for the university at large as well as specialized courses for majors.  Because we are a teaching university with a well-established School of Education, many of my students are enrolled in some form of teacher education, either as undergraduates or graduate students.  In 1986, I participated in a one-week Institute for Teacher Continuing Education.  It was my first opportunity to develop a special program in archaeology for teachers.  Since then, I have developed a course "Basic Archaeology for the Teacher," which provides three credits of training in archaeology and curriculum use, focusing on Project Archaeology materials.  I have also developed an outdoor archaeology field classroom, open to all students in the university, in order to provide a formal and ongoing field training experience in a field research context.

For the past twenty-five years I have been director of the Fort LeBoeuf Museum, in nearby Waterford, PA.  My primary obligation at the museum is to provide educational tours for a variety of student and civic groups.  Because the site is also an archaeological site, I try to infuse lessons about historic archaeology into each tour.  My ongoing emphasis is to design educational experiences that address the needs of many students, no matter their abilities and disabilities.

I have received grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to develop teaching trunks for use at the museum and in the schools; and to develop a video-based curriculum focusing on life at the French fort, which the museum commemorates.  I regularly visit schools to address students about local history as well as archaeology.  For fifteen years, I ran a one-week archaeology experience for gifted children through the university's gifted children's camp.  I have developed numerous small exhibits, focusing on archaeology at the site, for a number of neighboring museums as part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month.

I have been an active member of the Pennsylvania Archaeological Council Education Committee.  As such, I was a founding mother of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month; directed and contributed to several curriculum development grants for Project Archaeology: Pennsylvania (reading and educational standards based); produced a teaching trunk to complement the curriculum materials; given presentations and workshops at teachers' conferences; and contributed regular public programming for Pennsylvania Archaeology Month.  I am currently Project Archaeology coordinator for Pennsylvania.

I have been involved in the PEC since the preliminary meeting in Las Vegas.  As such, I have presented papers at SAA public education sessions; participated in the Breckenridge Conference; co-organized, with other SAA PEC members, workshops on developing archaeology teaching trunks and educational methodology, for the past six years; contributed to the Chacmool Conference proceeding of 1995, Archaeology Into the New Millennium: Public or Perish (2004); contributed a chapter to The Archaeology Education Handbook: Sharing the Past with Kids (2000); and have contributed to the planning process as a member of various subcommittees and task groups throughout my years of membership.

Interest in PEC Membership

In the 1980's I felt absolutely alone in my focus on public education.  Although I had attended several University of Minnesota conferences on museum education, I could not find others who were involved in archaeology public education or who wanted to talk to me.  The Las Vegas meeting showed me that there were others who were as committed to the task as I was. I remain at the PEC because it gives me great joy and energy. I would like to think that I could contribute some insights based upon my many years of experience as a teacher and museum educator.  More importantly, I continue to learn from my colleagues.  For the past six year, I have put some of my energy in co-organizing workshops for SAA members at the annual meetings.  I would like to continue to do so, since as an SAA committee, I believe it is our responsibility to provide for the continuing education needs of our colleagues in the archaeological community.  As we continue to develop wonderful resources for the public, we need to remember that our fellow archaeologists need our attention as well. I can offer my experience, commitment, and hard work as an archaeologist, teacher, and museum educator.  I am here to help in any way I can.

Area of interest:  Continuing education (workshops) for the professional archaeological community in the areas of resource development and educational methodology; and curriculum development (Project Archaeology) for use in the classroom.

Target audience(s): Professional archaeologists, teachers, museum educators, and students.