George Brauer
Recipient of the 2001 SAA Excellence in Public Education Award
(Educator Category)
George Brauer conducts a third grade school-based program George Brauer instructs high school students at the Center for Archaeology/Baltimore County Public Schools

George Brauer has made an outstanding contribution towards the goal of sharing archaeological knowledge with the public through facilitating institutions and other individuals in their public education efforts. George Brauer is an inspiration to those of us concerned with public archaeology education and he provides an important lesson that we in the profession can learn from about what ‘archaeology AS education’ can be.

In his capacity as Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for the Baltimore County Public Schools, and as founder and Director of the school district’s Center for Archaeology, George Brauer brings archaeology to more than 14,000 young people annually. How does he do this? George is Teacher-Archaeologist in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the 25th largest, U.S. public school district -- with 106,000 students in grades K-12. In this position, George has been able to infuse archaeology into elementary, middle, and high school programming as part of the social studies ‘scope in sequence’ curriculum. As a result, archaeology is now part of the District’s instructional Course Guides, primary content materials, extension and supplemental activities, and assessment activities.

Moreover…In his official capacity, George has founded an outdoors education facility to support student-based archaeological research. This facility provides a field practicum (lab experience) for an elective archaeology course offered annually in 18 county high schools. Students visiting the facility conduct original research on a mid-19th century, iron producing, company town site. Activities include excavation, artifact processing, historical building survey, historical building reconstruction, and cemetery studies. Baltimore County Public School students don’t just read about the past, they study, write, and present it for others. Summer teacher training (In-Service courses) and Gifted and Talented archaeology programs also take place at this facility. The Center’s Archaeology program has won the National Council for the Social Studies award for ‘Outstanding Social Studies Programming’ in the nation.

In George Brauer’s curriculum-based, archaeology education scheme, archaeology terminology and basic concepts are first presented in the third grade and are then built upon through substantive examples of archaeology research in middle school and later high school social studies activities. The archaeology readings and exercises that George produces are based upon professional archaeology research and also data recovered by students at the District’s archaeological facility. In these efforts, archaeology is used as a hook to grab the interest of students as ‘a means’ to educate them. In the process, teachers are taught (and are taught to teach), and students learn, what archaeology is, how it is studied, what it can contribute to our understanding of the past, and about the important need for responsible heritage preservation.

George Brauer deserves special recognition for his unique and substantial public impact as an archaeology educator, for his creativeness in programming, and for his leadership in the promotion of archaeology education.

(This Introduction was prepared in 2001 by award nominator Patrice L. Jeppson)

For additional information on George Brauer’s Public Archaeology activities see the following:
Center for Archaeology/Baltimore County Public Schools Web Site
SAA Archaeological Record (May 2001, Vol. 1, No. 3), page 20.
Hey, Did You Hear Abut the Teacher Who Took the Class Out to Dig a Site? Some Common Misconceptions about Archaeology in Schools (Co-authored with P.L. Jeppson). In Linda Derry and Maureen Malloy, edited, Archaeologists and Local Communities: Partners in Exploring the Past. Society for American Archaeology. Washington, D.C. 2003:67-77.