The Roving Exhibit and Archeological Laboratory (REAL) is an educational pop-up designed to bring archeology to the public. We provide flexibility in connecting students and their families with archeological resources. REAL expands accessibility to park resources and the discipline of archeology, by meeting students where they are, whether it’s within the park, at their school, or within their community.
We provide a traveling vehicle outfitted with activities, educational materials, tables, and tents staffed by NARP archeologists. Active sites in parks are largely inaccessible to visitors, but REAL provides a unique opportunity by supporting tangible engagement with archeological resources. REAL allows parks, partners, volunteers, and the public, particularly students and their families, to engage directly with archeology. The roving element provides an opportunity for NARP to be flexible in connecting students and their families with archeological resources. This way students will be able to participate in archaeological activities at their schools or in their communities, as well as within their National Parks!
REAL can travel to any park in the Interior Region 1 across the northeast. We can set up wherever there is room to put 2-6 tables with tents, such as a field or parking lot. Some of the activities that we have offered include:
- dig boxes
- cataloging and dating artifacts
making toys and pinch pots
looking at seeds and pollen under a microscope
learning about archeological tools of the trade
interpreting historical documents
learning about hidden narratives
The goal of REAL is to promote equity in learning and accessing park resources at park events, schools and other community gather locations, like libraries. Another goal of REAL is to highlight the often untold stories of historically underrepresented groups at these park sites which typically include members of Indigenous and African American communities. We focus on activities that tell students about these shared histories and experiences through archaeology.
REAL is designed to supplement what students learn in school and provide them with skills that they can take into their future education. Many archeological concepts like mapping, excavating, and curating will give students skills that intersect with other STEAM principles. Our lesson plans are designed to complement a fourth-grade curricula; however, participants of all ages are encouraged to participate as well.