Dig up your questions for Ask A Curator

The September program page shows lots of great stuff happening on the PHMC's Trails of History this weekend and the rest of the month.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday Sept.13, take part in Ask A Curator Day by tweeting your questions to Johnson @PHMC via Twitter. Make sure to include the #AskACurator hashtag. 
From Howard Carter to William F. Albright, archaeologists and the captivating artifacts they uncover have fascinated the public for years. Often, people conjure up romanticized images of fedora hat-wearing archaeologists who grip fiery torches as they explore shadowy tombs. Tombs and torches really don’t define modern archaeologists; however, many do wear hats…just not fedoras. Not convinced? Here’s your chance to quiz an expert. Next week, dig deep into the working lives of Pennsylvania archaeologists via Janet R. Johnson, a curator with The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Section of Archaeology.

Johnson, who curates and manages roughly eight million artifacts uncovered throughout the Commonwealth representing 14,000 years of occupation, has volunteered to take part in Ask A Curator Day from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Sept. 13 on Twitter via @PHMC. To date, more than 1,400 museums from 57 countries have signed up for Ask A Curator Day (#AskACurator), a world-wide social media event that engages the public and connects them with museum curators.

Janet R. Johnson
Essentially, Ask A Curator is a Twitter-based Q & A that serves as a venue where curators can chat with the public about nearly anything that piques their curiosity. Questions may range from the silly (“Are all archaeologists afraid of snakes?") to the more serious (“How do you know where to dig?”). From 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sept.13, take part in Ask A Curator Day by tweeting your questions to Johnson @PHMC via Twitter. Make sure to include the #AskACurator hashtag.

On Sept. 13, you can also share with us your photos and videos. Often, people relate stories about how and where they found a specific rock or artifact. Curators want to learn those histories and, in the process, might be able to offer a few previously unknown facts and interpretations.

This month, Johnson and her crew from The State Museum are excavating the Fort Hunter Mansion & Park near Harrisburg. The overall goal is to locate the remains of a French and Indian War-era supply fort occupied between 1757 and 1763.

The public is welcome to visit and archaeologists will be on site weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. until Friday, Oct. 6. In addition, the site will be open on Sunday, Sept. 17, for Fort Hunter Day.

This year, archaeologists from The State Museum will focus on two areas of Fort Hunter. The first is an area west of the milk house that was encountered in 2008 and again in 2016. It consists of two layers of artifacts dating to the late 18th and/or early 19thcenturies, based on previously uncovered ceramics.

Another area archaeologists will investigate is a rock foundation that has been interpreted as the octagonal smokehouse described in the 1820s in a farming magazine.

For more details on this year's Fort Hunter excavations or other news, please follow PHMC's "This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology" blog.


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