Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Changing the Way We Teach the Ancient World: Integrating the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology into Undergraduate Courses

This project aims to enhance the learning environment of undergraduates who study the ancient world by integrating a hands-on-experience at the Kelsey Museum. The goal is to move students away from the traditional mode of history classes, in which they are mainly passive obtainers of information (listening to lectures, reading, taking notes, etc.) and to allow them to physically interact with archaeological artifacts, the “stuff” of which history consists. Through the development of new teaching tools and the integration of existing, but rarely used, IT resources (such as Google Earth), we aim to create a new learning setting defined by active, investigative participation of students, before, during, and after class. A secondary goal of this project is to tackle the never ending pedagogical challenge of teaching about a world twice removed, both chronologically and geographically (to say nothing of language and culture), from young undergraduates in North America. The various tools we wish to develop aim to surmount, if only partially, the gap between students and the ancient world, by recreating some of that ancient world and making it accessible here in Ann Arbor. The team working on this project consists of faculty and researchers from three different units on campus – the Department of Near Eastern Studies (NES), the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and the Language Resource Center (LRC). At this stage, we propose to develop and test these methodologies in one particular class, ACABS 277, a large-enrollment course about the history of Israel/Palestine.

Students get up-close, hands-on look at history
The University Record, September 15, 2014

Project website:The Ancient Mediterranean in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology: Exercises in Material Culture

Project Team:

Yaron Eliav, Associate Professor, Near Eastern Studies
Nikki Branch, Administrative Director, Near Eastern Studies
Sharon Herbert, Professor, Classical Studies; Curator, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Julie Evershed, Director, Language Resource Center