Technology and Gossip in the 19th Century

February 25, 2017

by Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Spring 2017

Letter Andrew Wylie wrote to Samuel T. Wylie. Bloomington, IN, February 21st, 1847. Courtesy, Indiana University Archives Collection C203

These days, it is so easy to find out information. You may even find something you are not looking for! With internet accessibility and everyone posting readily on every social media outlet that is available, it’s simple. The internet is still relatively new, from its birth in the early 1990’s. Before this, people used much slower methods to obtain information, such as paging, telephoning, and letter writing. Going back even farther to the 19th century, the only form of communication that existed was letter writing. The railroad did not arrive to Bloomington until 1853, and so horse and buggy was the method of transportation used to deliver letters.

It can be assumed that gossip was a common theme of the 19th century, as the Wylie family correspondence contained a lot of it. The Wylie gossip varied greatly; from talk about townspeople to talk about other members of the family. Even in the 19th century, daughters were rebelling against their fathers. In one correspondence dated February 21, 1847, Andrew Wylie says, “Irene learns well: but has gone to balls: a thing of which I do not approve.” Irene was the 9th child of Andrew Wylie, and would have been 18 when Andrew wrote that letter to Samuel Theophylact Wylie.

A faster form of communication came about when the Morse telegraph connected Baltimore to Washington, D.C., in 1844. Now, there was a way for people to get in contact with each other quickly when there were emergencies. Telegraphic speech is simple; consisting of only about 3 or more word sentences. It would not have been practical to send long-winded, elaborate messages like the ones seen in the family letters. The telegraph was quickly outshined and became obsolete, however, by other forms of communication like the telephone.

The telephone was not invented until 1876, 25 years after Andrew Wylie had already passed, and so gossiping in the early-mid 19th century was done through letter writing. Gossip may have been a few weeks or even months old (if it got lost on the way) by the time the news got to the recipient. It is hard to imagine receiving news in such a delayed fashion when this day in age, we are constantly being overloaded with new information every few seconds. Often times, letters would be sent, only for the sender to wonder if the recipient still resides in the same dwelling. In those cases, the letter may never reach the recipient, and the news would be lost forever. In one such instance, Margaret Wylie Martin writes in the first sentence to her sister Elizabeth Wylie McCalla, “enclosed I send a letter to bro. Anderson for you to direct as I do not know whether he is still living at Le Roy N.Y. or not.”

Various family members do their fair share of gossiping, from Andrew Wylie to John H. and Elizabeth Wylie. It is refreshing to note that John H. Wylie would not allow himself to gossip about the dead. He wrote to his sister Elizabeth on April 28, 1851; “Poor Sam, when I write of him or speak of him my tears flow—in reading the other day a book entitled “The Reveries of a Bachelor” I met with the following which reads off my own heart so perfectly…’there are some that talk at table and in their gossip, of dead friends; I wonder how they do it; For myself when the grave has closed its gates on the facts of those I love—however busy my mournful thought may be, my tongue is silent. I cannot name their names: it shocks me to hear them named. It seems like tearing open half-healed wounds and disturbing with harsh worldly noise, the sweet sleep of death.’”

References

History.com Staff. 2009. Morse Code & the Telegraph. A+E Networks. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/inventions/telegraph. Accessed on 23 February 2017.

[Letters], Wylie Family Correspondences, Collection C203, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Wylie Family Tree

February 20, 2017

by Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Spring 2017

In order to truly relive the 19th century and understand the Wylie family, we must first understand the Wylie family tree. The family was quite large, with Margaret birthing a total of 12 children in a span of 22 years. William, Craig Ritchie, John Hosea, Samuel Theophylact and Jane Melheme all died at fairly young ages: 19, 21, 32, 25 and 29, respectively. John suffered from TB most of his life, and eventually succumbed to the disease in 1855.

References

[Letters], Wylie Family Correspondences, Collection C203, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Glenn A. Black: A Life

February 15, 2017

by Hannah Rea, Social Media Intern

All photos from collection donated by Glenn A. and Ida Black family, unless otherwise cited.

Glenn A. Black in 1952.

1900:

Glenn Albert Black is born August 15, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He attends public school through high school, then is forced to take on the role of head of household after the death of his father, John A. Black, in 1912.

1920s:

Black begins to amass a collection of artifacts from prehistoric sites in Marion County, and studies the history of the state.

Glenn Black in the 1930s.

1930:

In the fall, Black writes to Dr. C. B. Coleman, the director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, asking if his services would be accepted “if they were offered gratis.”

1931:

The company he had previously worked for as an estimating engineer –Fairbanks, Morse and Company– moves to Wisconsin and Black is forced to resign his position in order to stay in Indiana and support his family.  In May, Black is hired to serve as a local guide to Warren K. Moorehead, who helped create archaeological programs for the study of the eastern part of the United States, as well as Eli Lilly and E. Y. Guernsey as they conduct an inspection of Indiana archaeological sites.

Glenn and Ida Black in 1946.

On October 27, he marries Ida May Hazzard.

1931-32:

Black is recommended by Moorehead to be sent to Greene County and begin surveys there.  In the winter, he is sent to Columbus, Ohio, to study collections at the Ohio State Museum and do further field excavations.

1932:

Black returns to Greene County in the spring for further excavations in conjunction with the Indiana Historical Bureau.

1933:

Black assists on a survey of Dearborn and Ohio counties, recording sites such as the Nowlin Mound.

1934-35:

Excavations begin at Nowlin Mound.

Glenn Black in the late 1930s.

1936-37:

Black turns his attention to the excavation of documented villages, believed to have been inhabited by Miami, Shawnee and Potawatomi people during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Glenn Black, his mother and brother in September 1938.

1938:

The Indiana Historical Society acquires the Angel Mounds site with assistance from Eli Lilly to protect and preserve it for future research and education.

Glenn Black in the driveway of his home on the grounds of the Angel Mounds site.

1939:

Black moves into a house on the property.

Excavations under the Works Progress Administration employ more than 200 people, and allow the training of young archaeologists in field schools which would continue until the summer of 1962.

1941:

World War II abruptly halts excavation of the Angel Mounds site.

1944:

Black is appointed a lecturer in archaeology at Indiana University’s Department of Zoology.

1945:

IU starts research at the site.

1946:

Control of the Angel Mounds site is transferred to the state of Indiana.

1947:

IU establishes the Department of Anthropology, and Black begins to lecture within it.

Glenn Black’s honorary degree from Wabash College. Taken by Hannah Rea.

1951:

Black is awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Wabash College.

1960:

Black retires from lecturing at IU.

Eli Lilly and Glenn Black at McCormicks Creek Inn in 1961.

1963-64:

Black and the site team complete excavation of the large mound, which had been stopped by WWII.

1964:

Black dies September 2 of a heart attack in Evansville, Indiana.

Dedication of the Glenn Black Lab on May 1, 1971.

1971:

The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology opens on IU’s campus on April 21.

Collection of Glenn Black artifacts. Taken by Hannah Rea.

2016:

Glenn A. Black Laboratory receives donation of Black’s Honorary Doctorate, hood and his archaeologist’s trowel from the family of Glenn and Ida Black.

Sources:

“Angel Mounds.” Angelmounds.org, Friends of Angel Mounds, http://www.angelmounds.org/about-us-2/angel-mounds/.

Kellar, James H. “Glenn A. Black 1900-1964.” American Antiquity, vol. 31, no. 3, part 1 (Jan 1966), pp. 402-405, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2694742.

Kellar, James H. “Glenn A. Black.” The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Indiana University Bloomington, 1971.

AIRS Portal — February 2017 Oklahoma Trip

February 14, 2017

by Kelsey Grimm, Library/Archive Coordinator

The Glenn A. Black Laboratory, in partnership with several federally recognized tribes, is interested in knowing what American Indian resources and services are located at its home institution. Indiana University houses numerous American Indian resources and research materials at various collecting and service-providing units across its Bloomington campus; each separately housed and administrated. These resources offer a wide array of media and programming and represent the history and heritage of recognized tribes from across North America.

Tribal researchers have expressed interest in these many collections, though current access methods can be confusing, daunting, and time-consuming. In an effort to better understand the variety and number of these collections and services, staff at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology circulated a survey to IU Bloomington repositories. A preliminary report summarizing the initial findings was written and the GBL team set out to personally contact tribes in order to gain perspective on how these IU collections can better serve their communities.

April Sievert, Director of the GBL; Jennifer St. Germain, Collections Manager; and Kelsey (Emmons) Grimm, Librarian, spent February 7th through February 9th in Oklahoma meeting with cultural heritage personnel from seven tribes. Information gathered during these meetings will remain anonymous during reporting, but was incredibly helpful when thinking about how the resources and services at Indiana University could be presented to audiences outside the University.

Our hope for this grant’s outcome is a webpage that describes and points to the many repositories and service-providing units at Indiana University with American Indian materials; think of this like a sign post that links out to those institutions’ webpages and makes understanding and accessing their collections a little easier.

We hope this trip is the first of many conversations, and that our relationships with our tribal partners are strengthened by future collaboration.

Artifact Spotlight: Toothbrush

February 8, 2017

by Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Spring 2017

Bone Toothbrush. Courtesy, Wylie House Museum Flickr page, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Sherry Wise, outdoor interpreter at the Wylie House, spent years of her own time researching artifacts she uncovered during the construction of the Education Center in 2009. The construction of this Center led to the reveal of hundreds of hidden artifacts, but unfortunately many were broken in the process.  Sherry recovered some of the artifacts and stored them away. The basement of the Center is filled with boxes and boxes of broken pieces of dishes, teapots, bones, children’s toys; you name it.  The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Wylie House are working diligently to ensure any possible archaeological discoveries are not disturbed with construction in the future.

One of the many things that was found was a toothbrush. Although a toothbrush was one of the many original items donated by descendants’ of the Wylie family, it just reiterated the importance of hygiene in the Wylie house. The idea of the toothbrush has been around since 3000 BCE, when Egyptians brushed their teeth with twigs. However, the more modern toothbrush was invented in 1780 by William Addis in England. The handle was carved from cattle bone and the brush portion was made from swine bristles. The toothbrush pictured above is also made of swine bristles. It is evident that the Wylies made it a point to maintain their hygiene, especially as a toothbrush can be found in almost all of the bedrooms of the Wylie House, along with a basin and wash-cloths.  In fact, when it came to hygiene in general, the Wylies were way ahead of their time. When planning the layout of their home, the Wylies made their sickroom in the corner of the upstairs. Most houses during that time made their sickroom adjacent to the kitchen, which increased the likelihood of infecting others, as people constantly travel in and out of the kitchen.

References

[Manual], [Wylie House Museum Docent Manual], Reference Files, Indiana University Archives, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Black History Month in Archaeology

February 1, 2017

by Hannah Rea, Social Media Intern

 

In honor of Black History Month, let’s take a look at a few African American archaeologists and anthropologists who have enriched the field of archaeology:

 

John Wesley Gilbert

Gilbert is generally regarded as the first trained African American archaeologist.  Born in Georgia in either 1864 or ’65 (sources dispute his birthdate), Gilbert faced poverty and discrimination throughout his life.  He earned his B.A. in ancient Greek from Brown University, and in 1888 was appointed to Paine College in Augusta, becoming the first Black faculty member.  The first African American to work in classical archaeology, he helped excavate Eretria on the island of Euboea, and the map he created of the site was later published.  In the early 1910s, Gilbert accompanied a Methodist mission trip to Africa with his friend Walter Russell Lambuth.  Utilizing his language skills to aid communication, and religion to overcome racial divides, the trip was viewed by many as a success; in 1968, the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel was built on Paine College’s campus to celebrate the two men.

 

Theresa A. Singleton

Currently an associate professor of anthropology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Singleton was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in historical archaeology and African-American history and culture from the University of Florida.  According to her biography in Syracuse’s faculty listing, she specializes in historical archaeology, African-American history and culture, slavery in plantation America and archaeology of the African Diaspora.  She started studying slavery on the coast of Georgia, looking into the Gullah-Geechee, a group of people who were descended from slaves and were named for a variation of creole.  She published several books on African-American life in America, and is currently studying the history of slavery on coffee plantations in Cuba.

 

Alexandra Jones

Jones is the Founder and CEO of Archaeology in the Community, a nonprofit organization that works to teach people of all ages about archaeology and history.  She has B.A.’s in history and anthropology, as well as a Master’s in history from Howard University, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley.  According to her biography on the AITC site, Jones has taught in primary schools, museums, colleges and camps, and, in 2013, worked as the Archaeology Field School Director for PBS’s “Time Team America.”

 

Whitney Battle-Baptiste

Battle-Baptiste is an associate professor of anthropology at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and specializes in the crossing of race, class and gender as it relates to the African Diaspora.  She graduated with a bachelor’s in history and secondary education from Virginia State University and a master’s in history from the College of William & Mary, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in anthropology.  In 2015, Battle-Baptiste was named director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at the UMass Amherst Libraries, which works to educate on and lead discussions about issues relating to race, labor and social justice across the world.  She has worked on historic sites from the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Massachusetts to the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, and has published a book on Black feminism as it relates to archaeology.

 

Michael Blakey

Blakey is a National Endowment for the Humanities professor at the College of William & Mary, and has a B.A. in anthropology from Howard University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  According to his faculty listing, his specializations are in biological anthropology, biohistory, skeletal biology and the African Diaspora.  He rose to prominence in the 1990s during the controversy surrounding the excavation of a building site, now known as the African Burial Ground National Monument: though the site was listed on maps as a burial ground for slaves in the 1700s, a previous archaeological survey had determined it was unlikely remains would be found, due to centuries of urban development.  Upon digging, intact burials were found and the African-American community in New York City was angered that they were not consulted, and worried the remains would be destroyed or otherwise disrespected.  The site was turned over to Blakey and a team of archaeologists and anthropologists at Howard University, whose efforts in studying the remains gained media exposure and helped the site be registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

 

References:

“Field School Director: Dr. Alexandra Jones.” Pbs.org. Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2014, http://www.pbs.org/time-team/meet-the-team/alexandra-jones/.

Fitzgibbons, Daniel J. “Battle-Baptiste Named New Director of W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst.” Umass.edu. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 26 Jan. 2015, https://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/battle-baptiste-named-new-director-web-du.

“Michael Blakey, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor.” Wm.edu. William & Mary, 2017, http://www.wm.edu/as/anthropology/faculty/blakey_m.php.

Ronnick, Michele Valerie. “Gilbert, John Wesley.” African American National Biography, 2006. Oxford African American Studies Center, doi: 10.1093/aasc/9780195301731.013.1474.

“Theresa Singleton, Associate Professor, Anthropology.” Maxwell.syr.edu. Maxwell School of Syracuse University, n.d., https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/anthro/Singleton,_Theresa/.

Biography of Andrew Wylie

January 28, 2017

by Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Spring 2017

Andrew Wylie was born in 1789 and was the son of an immigrant Irish farmer. He grew up in Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he was a licensed Presbyterian minister. In 1812, he was unanimously elected the president of Jefferson College. In 1813, Andrew Wylie married Margaret Ritchie, and together they had 12 children. Only 10 of the 12 lived in the Bloomington home. In 1828, Wylie was invited by the trustees of Indiana College to be its first president. This would be the beginning of a 21-year term as President. Andrew Wylie remains IU’s third longest serving president, and its longest non-Hoosier chief administrator.

Imagine this: Bloomington with no cars, a few brick houses and tiny farms everywhere. Two hundred years ago, this is exactly what Bloomington looked like. When Andrew Wylie arrived in Bloomington with Margaret and 9 of his children, the population of Bloomington was a mere 1000 people. Andrew Wylie, to the dismay of his wife, was a frontier settler.

By the 1840s, the population had increased to a few thousand. To think, the first class at Indiana University (then Indiana College) had 10 individuals. Today, there are roughly 38,000 undergraduates enrolled at Indiana University. Indiana University has truly come a long way.

Not only was Andrew Wylie the college administrator, but he also taught 3 classes: moral and mental philosophy, political economy, and literature. He also stayed highly involved with his church as a Presbyterian minister. Andrew Wylie was one busy man! Under his guidance, the student body increased, the curriculum was expanded and the college became a University in 1838. In 1835, Andrew Wylie built the house now named in his honor, Wylie House, located at 317 E. Second Street. The architectural style of the house reflects Wylie’s Pennsylvania origins. It is believed he did this to make his wife feel more at home. When Andrew Wylie built the beautiful “mansion on a hill,” Bloomington’s streetscape mainly consisted of log cabins and a few brick houses. Wylie’s house definitely stood out in the community. As the weeks go on, I will be travelling back in time to 19th century Bloomington and telling the story of the esteemed Wylie family and life on the frontier.

Recently, in 2009 (which actually isn’t so recent now that I think about it), during construction of the Morton C. Bradley Jr. Education Center next to the Wylie House, Sherry Wise, the outdoor interpreter of the Wylie House, found artifacts including teapots and bowls. These finds have the potential to give us a new perspective and insight into the lives of the Wylie family. With the help of the Glenn A. Black Lab and the Wylie House, I will be analyzing these artifacts along with compiling historical information about the Wylie’s daily lives for my bicentennial project. The Glenn A. Black Lab will be writing a proposal to begin a more in depth project on the property. As Robert Mazrim said, “Archaeological excavations…help to better define a place and a time…archaeology has a peculiar ability to enhance and also challenge the written word, to uncover the aspects of daily life long since passed.” This is the exact goal of the Bicentennial Project; to bring to light the rich history of our amazing university.

 

Reference:

Mazrim, Robert. The Sangamo Frontier: History & Archaeology in the Shadow of Lincoln. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007. Print.

[Museum Brochure], [The President’s Homes Indiana University: Wylie House Museum], Reference Files, Indiana University Archives, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Old Newspaper Clippings

January 20, 2017

by Maclaren Guthrie

Newspaper clippings concerning Angel Mounds

As you may know, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology is home to a large amount of information and different media stored in its archives. There are site records, maps, soil surveys, field notes, newspaper clippings, and more. For my project, I spent a few days looking through old Indiana State Site Files looking for old newspaper clippings about archaeology. In the archive, everything is sorted by county. So I had to go county by county recording how many newspaper clippings there were, what they were about, and any other notes I thought would be helpful later. My goal was to figure out if there is a difference in the public’s interest in and attitudes towards archaeology by comparing articles from the past to the present.

Since most of the articles in the archives are from the 1930’s, there are a fair amount of articles that mention the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and the work they did relating to archaeology. As part of the New Deal, WPA excavations were credited with uncovering some human remains, relics, and most notably for funding the Angel Mounds excavation in Evansville, Indiana. One clipping from February 1938 discussed that the Indiana WPA director John K. Jennings said that WPA crews could begin work at Angel Mounds in April. Another article shared that the WPA was going to finance the excavation at Angel Mounds with a $200,000 grant. Before looking at these articles, I hadn’t considered how good an investment archaeology was during the Great Depression. Archaeological excavations require lots of fieldwork and lab analysis, and all seemingly without developing a product. According to a newspaper article from December of 1938, the $200,000 WPA grant funded 50 to 100 otherwise unemployed men and women to work at Angel Mounds for 10 months.

There is also a large amount of newspaper clippings about members of the general public finding relics, features, or even remains. For example, in December 1938 a property owner found a burial while constructing a fence. There are many similar stories of residents finding and reporting sites and materials. There were also articles about people visiting sites, and in some cases getting injured while attempting to get a closer look at a discovery.

While reading all of the articles, I kept asking myself if archaeology is perceived the same way now as it was back then. The short answer is, I still don’t completely know. From these articles, it seems like people have always been interested to hear about someone digging up artifacts in their backyard, or just new discoveries in general. I did see that a lot of the articles were about finding or excavating remains or burial sites which doesn’t happen as often now, as laws and ethical codes governing the excavation of human remains have since been emplaced. These articles were collected over years, but I don’t see nearly as many articles about archaeology in the newspaper now as I saw represented in the archives. However, it is important to take into consideration the new methods of news and communication that weren’t available in the early 20th century, like online news, television, and social media. I may not have a solid answer to what I wanted to know yet, but looking through the archives has started me in the right direction.

Introduction from the Bicentennial Intern

January 20, 2017

by Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Spring 2017

Today is IU’s 197th birthday. In three years, it will be the bicentennial. This is very relevant to me, as a Bicentennial Intern. I will be posting on the Glenn A. Black Laboratory’s blog this semester documenting my journey on my bicentennial project involving the Glenn A. Black Lab and Wylie House. Together, they are proposing an archaeological project at the Wylie House, led by the Glenn A. Black Lab. My job is to research relevant historical archaeology pertaining to the 19th century. Shockingly, not as much information exists as there could be. Throughout the semester, I will hopefully find some interesting things I can share with you all, and I will be travelling to different places in Bloomington to aid my research. I will be doing spotlights on these potential partners of this bicentennial excavation!

A Conversation with the Curator

November 1, 2016

by Hannah Rea, Social Media Intern

Recently, I sat down with Melody Pope, Curator of Collections for the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL), who is nearing the one-year anniversary holding the position.  She describes the job as one of oversight and stewardship, since she is in charge of complying with curation agreements the GBL has made with federal agencies and managing the collection, among other things.

Pope has had a long relationship with Indiana and the GBL.  Born and raised in southern Indiana, she worked at the GBL during her time as an undergraduate student at Indiana University, and said that this link is part of what attracted her to the position, seeing it as an opportunity to return to the Hoosier State.  This new job was not only a geographical shift from her previous position at the University of Iowa, but also a career shift.

Much of Pope’s previous work has been in compliance archaeology, programs that operate under the National Historic Preservation Act and various state and local guidelines to survey land considered for development, and ensure the work will not disturb any archaeological sites.

“It’s doing archaeology for historical preservation,” Pope said. “Now I’m in more of a museum-kind of position.”

One skill she has utilized throughout her career is photography.

“I’ve always had an interest in photography as a hobby,” she said. “It was a skill I was able to build and utilize in my work.”

Pope began in film photography, and was the designated photographer on three archaeological expeditions to Iraq during her time as a doctoral student at Binghamton University.

“It was a lot of fun to be the photographer for the expedition,” she said. “I never in a million years imagined I would go to Iraq and do archaeology.”

Pope traveled to the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  While there, the American and British archaeologists on the team lived on site in field camps: “Living archaeology 24/7.  It’s fun if you like roughing it.”

She said it was relatively easy to get the correct permits from the Iraqi government, though there still was plenty of red tape to get through.  There was a representative from the Department of Antiquities constantly overseeing the progress, but otherwise, Pope said, the experience was not too different from doing archaeology here.

“We got back and within two weeks, Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and started the First Gulf War,” Pope recalled.

As for the current situation in Iraq and surrounding countries, many archaeologists are working to make people aware of how manipulative governments can be of archaeological finds.  The manipulation of archaeology to create ideologies about a past the governments want people to believe often leads to the destruction of historical sites and artifacts.

“I think a lot of anthropological archaeologists are becoming activists in their work,” Pope said.

Some devote their time and energy to work like investigating war crimes and excavating mass graves.  Others take a different route: “A lot of folks simply shift their work into safer areas.”

“It’s been hard to get back over there and assess the damages,” she said.  And though it’s important to preserve history, “People’s lives are more important than the past, when you get down to it.”

Preserving culture and bringing the human aspect back into focus is also part of the mission at the Glenn A. Black Lab.

“Early on, the lab was very much a central hub for Indiana archaeology.”

Like many similar institutions, inconsistent record-keeping practices have led to challenges for collections management today.  After early excavations, many artifacts received only basic cataloguing, and some are even in the same bags they were put in when they were originally excavated in the 1940s, Pope said.  The lab today is focused on balancing museum work to rehabilitate collections, create new exhibits and conduct research.

“With so much time having passed since most collections came into the lab it can be a real challenge to rehouse collections, to put things back together again,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of work cut out for us.”

The strong museum identity was part of the early mission of the GBL with over half of its square footage dedicated to storage and display of artifacts.  The laboratory part of its identity comes with research and teaching opportunities that involve diverse scholars and stakeholders.  The combined museum and research laboratory identity allows the GBL to serve double-duty as a place to conduct research, educate students and engage with communities interested in Ohio Valley archaeology and history.

“We’re collaborating more and more with the public,” Pope said. “It’s all integrated here, and it’s a really unique place.”