College of the Atlantic Interns Enhance Layers of Time Exhibit

Raney Bench, Curator of Education

The winter term for College of the Atlantic brought the Abbe Museum two talented interns, Rachel Heasly and Zach Whalen. Rachel worked with me in Education where she conducted a survey of similar sized and focused museums and compared the educational offerings and fees to what the Abbe has to offer. She then conducted a similar survey of Maine museums, so we could better understand where the Abbe stands in relation to other museums in the region. This was the first step in a multiple year process of evaluating, revising, and releasing a new series of programs in connection with the change to National Common Core education standards, which will be happening in Maine over the next several years.

Zach worked with Julia Clark, Curator of Collections, processing archaeological artifacts from field school. Zach also helped to photograph objects and turned out to be very helpful on several projects with his knowledge of computer graphic programs.

Zach and Rachel worked together to bring the Layers of Time exhibit up-to-date. The exhibit focuses on various archaeological excavations the Abbe has conducted since our founding in 1928, looking at the science of archaeology, what questions were being researched, and summarizing key discoveries from each location. The exhibit ended with an excavation from the Tranquility Farm site dating from 1995-1998, however the Abbe has continued to lead annual field school excavations.

Zach and Rachel worked with data recorded during the 2008-2009 field school excavation of the Ewing-Bragdon site, summarizing what questions the archaeologists were looking to answer, what was found, and highlighting certain key features and artifacts discovered. Zach’s skills and experience with graphic software allowed him to create exhibit panels that match the older panels in design and font, so the new panels are seamless with the older panels. Zach was also able to create a legend explaining the stratigraphy of a possible trash pit uncovered. Rachel helped to write the labels, and both chose the objects they wanted to put on display.

Through this project, the interns learned how to write an exhibit label, how to work with objects, and Julia taught them how to print, mount, and cut out the labels. Zach and Rachel both blogged about their experiences working with the Abbe Museum, which can be found in the blog archives from January, February, and March.

Image 1: Pot sherds from the Ewing-Bragdon site, photo taken by Zach Whalen.