Monday, June 13, 2011

SRAC Donates Artifacts to Wyalusing Museum

(WAVERLY, NY)The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center’s Ted Keir has been the leading avocational archaeologist for Bradford County for well over 50 years. In fact, Keir was part of an important excavation lead by King’s College Archaeology department in 1972. The excavation was of the site of Friedenshutten, a Moravian Missionary/Indian Village near Wyalusing, PA that was founded in 1763 by the famous Moravian missionary, David Zeisberger. Reports show that by 1766 it consisted of 29 log houses, 13 wigwams, and 7 stables. The village also had a church with a steeple and bell, and a wing made into a schoolhouse. But as a result of the ongoing unrest between the settlers and the Native Americans at the time, Friedenshutten was abandoned in 1772.

By the mid 1970’s the Archaeology department at King’s College was phased out, and the artifacts left at the college from Friedenshutten were given to Ted Keir to display in his own private museum, and to be a part of his many educational programs in Bradford County. These artifacts again changed hands in 2005 when Keir donated all of his collections, to include the Friedenshutten artifacts, to the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) in Waverly, NY.

In a full circle of events, many of the Friedenshutten artifacts recently ended up back in Wyalusing, PA, where they were excavated nearly 40 years ago. SRAC’s Deb Twigg explained, “SRAC has had members of other museums on their board since our inception. For instance, Mark Madill, a long time board member of the Wyalusing Museum has been on our own board for several years now. As a result, Mark has kept us abreast of all that the Wyalusing Valley Museum Association has been able to accomplish as they moved from the cellar of the local library to their own location, the “Bixby House” where they are working diligently to expand their museum and exhibits. Because we have such a large amount of artifacts from Friedenshutten, and Ted Keir was 100% in support of the idea, we decided to go ahead and donate a large amount of the artifacts back to the area where they originated, thereby assisting the Wyalusing Museum to display evidence of this part of their early history.” Wyalusing’s Mark Madill added, “This will be a great addition to Wyalusing Museum’s Native American exhibit. Before this we only had a couple of gun flints from the Friedenshutten site to display.”

Madill went on to explain that the Wyalusing Museum also loaned a display of artifacts found locally and in southeastern Pennsylvania to be exhibited at SRAC. Twigg continued, “The Wyalusing display at SRAC includes many jasper and quartz points that are quite rare. By having each museum exhibit collections from the other, we enhance each other’s collections and the relationships between our organizations. We also are letting people know where to find more great exhibits concerning our region’s Native American past. It’s a good thing for everyone, and I hope that we can work with other museums like this in the future.”

Picture Caption: SRAC’s Ted Keir (left) and Wyalusing Museum’s Mark Madill stand behind a portion of Native American artifacts that were shared between their organizations recently.

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