Since our founding in 2000, the Fairfield Foundation has been dedicated to involving the community in our efforts to discover and preserve local history through hands-on learning experiences. These include public dig days, lab nights,school programs and activities at local events and festivals.
We offer educational programming to schools across the Middle Peninsula (see our map here!) and surrounding areas. Our goal is to provide place-based learning experiences that integrate archaeology into class curricula and demonstrate how subjects like math, science and history are applied in our field.
We are excited to report that in 2018 we conducted 31 educational programs in 16 public and private schools in Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Norfolk. These included classroom visits and field trips to local archaeological sites, including Fairfield Plantation, Woodville School and the CAPE (Center for Archaeology, Preservation and Education). As of this year we have collaborated with 9 of the 10 schools in Gloucester County, reaching nearly every Kindergarten and 2nd grade student at Bethel Elementary, every 1st grade student at Botetourt Elementary, every 4th grade student at Petsworth Elementary, and every 5th grade student at Achilles Elementary!
In addition to school programs, we worked with kids from Gloucester, Mathews and Suffolk through the Beaverdam Park, Mathews YMCA, Suffolk Public Library and Gloucester History summer camps. Our activities with these groups ranged from artifact washing and excavation to pottery making and “atlatl” challenges (kids throw a tennis ball at a cardboard mammoth and calculate the distance thrown with their arm vs. an atlatl-like throwing device).
In total we introduced over 1,700 children and students to archaeology through these programs this year, but our outreach efforts didn’t stop there! We hosted seven public dig days at Fairfield Plantation, the Bailey Site, the Hogge site, New Quarter Park and St. Paul’s Church this year, as well as three public artifact wash days at the CAPE and Suffolk Public Library. These wash days are in addition to our weekly lab nights, when we welcome the public to join us at the CAPE to wash artifacts and participate in other lab activities.
We participated in 14 festivals and events this year as well, including public digs at the Gloucester Daffodil Festival, Mathews May Faire and Mathews Market Days. We also had educational booths at the Urbanna Oyster Festival, Stratford Hall Trades Faire and the Day of Archaeology Festival in Washington, D.C.
We’re very proudof our outreach efforts this year, and we look forward to even more opportunities in 2019! If you are interested in participating in one of our educational programs or having us visit your classroom, please email Ashley McCuistion at firstname.lastname@example.org!