NHA University Virtual Event: Archaeological Collections at the NHA: A Multi-Year Preservation and Public Education Initiative

In September 2020, the NHA was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to catalog the NHA’s archaeological materials, upgrade the physical space in which they are housed, and insure the long-term preservation of individual collections with the implementation of federal curation standards. Ultimately the process will dovetail with the development of new exhibits highlighting Nantucket’s Native American culture and technology.

Many of the Native American and colonial artifacts were donated to the NHA over the years by local artifact collectors. Other assemblages derived from archaeological excavations on Nantucket by the Massachusetts Archaeological Society (MAS), the NHA under the direction of the late Dr. Elizabeth Little, the University of Massachusetts, and several cultural resource management firms. The collection also includes notebooks prepared by Dr. Little with collector artifact inventories, as well as a detailed field notebook from the Shawkemo Chapter of the MAS.

Karl Wietzel and Mary Lynne Rainey are part of the NHA team working on the development of the grant priorities and implementation of initial tasks. Their presentation will provide an overview of the grant priorities, canvas the origins and types of material cultural represented in the NHA archaeology collections, and report on the initial priorities for this multi-year endeavor.


Karl Wietzel is the Nantucket Historical Association’s Collection’s Specialist and Manager of K-12 Education. Mr. Wietzel holds a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and a Bachelors of Arts in History from Hartwick College. Before joining the NHA team, has held education and collection’s management positions at the Hanford Mills Museum, The Yaeger Museum of Arts and Culture, and the Fenimore Art Museum. In his current role, Wietzel divides his time between cataloging the NHA’s archaeological collection, creating family and student programming, and the interpretation and operation of the Old Mill.

 

Mary Lynne Rainey is a Principal Senior Archaeologist at RGA, Inc. with over 35 years of experience in the field of cultural resource management (CRM). She holds a BA from West Chester University (PA), an MA from the University of Connecticut, and is on the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RGA).  During her career, Ms. Rainey directed dozens of CRM projects on Nantucket and analyzed island assemblages from prehistoric Native American, Contact Period, and historic EuroAmerican archaeological sites. Her work has helped to inform important research topics in Nantucket history and prehistory, such as Native American architecture, diet, community structure, and technology.  She was a colleague of the late Nantucket scholar, Dr. Elizabeth Alden Little (1926-2003), and developed the volume Nantucket and Other Native Places, The Legacy of Elizabeth Alden Little (published 2010) in her honor.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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