Heritage, Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 1995 Page: 27
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THF Grant Launches Legacy Program:
A Public Outreach Program in Archaeology
By Dr. Robert J. Hard
Our heritage resources are finite and
their preservation relies on generations of
people who care to protect and preserve
them. Public outreach archaeological programs
for youths are critical to developing
such attitudes. Precollegiate teachers have
discovered that archaeological programs
are a stimulating tool in the classroom, not
only enhancing higher-level thinking skills,
but providing opportunities for students to
be introduced to a rich cultural heritage by
tapping their natural curiosity about the
Legacy, an innovative public outreach
program in archaeology, was recently inaugurated
by Dr. Robert J. Hard of the
Center for Archaeological Research
(CAR) of The University of Texas at San
Antonio (UTSA), with the assistance of a
grant from the Texas Historical Foundation.
The program received nationwide
attention in a recent article in the Society
for American Archaeology publication,
Archaeology and Public Education (September
1994) and has earned wide acclaim
from local educators.
Legacy is primarily dedicated to introducing
precollegiate students (kindergarten-grade
12) in the south Texas area to
the discipline of archaeology and the concepts
of historic preservation. Although
archaeology holds a fascination for much of
the general public, misconceptions and
stereotypes persist about what archaeologists
actually do. Legacy seeks to relay the
idea that the romance of archaeology lies
not in finding treasures or artifacts--rather
it is an exciting, multifaceted inquiry into
human behavior. One primary objective of
the program is to dispel the idea that digging
is the primary focus of archaeology.
We attempt to explain and promote the
use of all methods and techniques of anthropological
archaeology in explaining
the diversity of past and present cultural
Dr. Shirley Mock directs a Legacy tour for San Antonio school children. The interdisciplinary archaeology
outreach program received a grant from the Texas Historical Foundation in 1994.
A classroom designed specifically for
Legacy student tours is an integral part of
the newly renovated CAR lab and office
complex. Each guided tour normally consists
of 40 students who are divided into
small groups of 10 to facilitate the learning
process. Each group is guided through a
series of interactive exhibits and investigative,
hands-on tasks focused on key geographical
areas: North America,
Mesoamerica, Central America, and the
Artifacts, utilized natural objects such
as shell or bone, and visual displays are used
to enhance the exhibits and communicate
the interdisciplinary and scientific nature
of archaeological research to the students.
Special emphasis is placed on the role of
social, economic, technological, and ideological
change in cultural adaptations. A
question-driven format allows visiting stu
dents to follow their own curiosity concerning
past and present human populations.
In order to bring the subject of archaeology
into focus, we also encourage the
development of effective public interpretation
and outreach skills. University of
Texas at San Antonio students not only
direct the tours but are actively involved in
planning educational outreach units related
to their specific geographical or topical
interests. Graduate students working
on the implementation of educational units
so integral to Legacy receive stipends provided
by the Texas Historical Foundation
Dr. Robert J. Hard is employed by the Center
for Archaeology Research of The University of
Texas at San Antonio.
HERITAGE * WINTER 1995 27
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 1995, periodical, Winter 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45408/m1/27/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.