On March 15, about 60 islanders gathered to share “wonderful things” with a team of archaeologists from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Dr. Julie Stein, Director of the Burke Museum, with Laura Phillips, Collections Manager, Stephanie Jolivette, Outreach Coordinator, and Amanda Taylor, graduate student, examined and identified artifact collections from Orcas and the surrounding islands, as well as some interesting objects from around the world. The event was sponsored by Island Excavating.
The Burke Museum has several research projects ongoing in the San Juan Islands. Amanda Taylor is studying shell midden erosion; she and Julie Stein are conducting shell midden dating research, and Stephanie Jolivette is locating inland sites in the San Juan Islands.
The Burke staff were excited to see so many interesting artifacts, and were impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm exhibited by Orcas Islanders. “We saw some unique artifacts, and most importantly, learned the location of potential archaeological sites not previously reported,” Jolivette commented.
”The event was very helpful to the Burke for creating connections with the community,” she added. “We felt very welcome and were especially excited by the generous people who invited us to visit their property for future research. The Burke team would like to thank the Orcas Island Historical Society for inviting us to take part in this event, and the Orcas Islanders for welcoming us to their community.”
Dr. Stein was enthusiastic about the investment made by islanders in the care of collections at the museum. “What you have here is rare in small museums in any state, not just Washington,” she told Museum Director Micki Ryan. “You should shout this to the world, The Orcas Island museum is a hidden treasure!”
The Orcas Island Historical Museum reopens its exhibits on May 23, 2008, for the summer season, with renewed exhibit cabins and the summer exhibit “Practice Preservation: History Lives Here!”