On June 30th 2020, EXARC hosted a Volunteer day for those based in the Netherlands at Archeon Museumpark. The main goals of this event were to connect with fellow volunteers on a face to face scenario, as well as revisiting and revising EXARC’s purpose and mission taking into account the changing world we live in.
The day started with apple tart as per classic Dutch tradition, followed by a tour of Archeon by an archaeologist, who walked us through the exhibit from prehistoric times, all the way to the Romans and the Middle Ages. The park is an all-round reconstruction of these different time periods, everything from canoes, houses and natural surroundings are thought out to assimilate the times that they represent. The tour provided insights on the restoration of canoes, the reproduction of ancient arrows, the burial of families and a demonstration of how oxen were used for ploughing.
After the tour, the first presentation of the day was given within the main facilities; on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) apply to museums and related professionals, delivered by Caitlin Southwick from Ki Culture. The talk bridged the wide-ranging SDGs to the specific fields related to archaeology and museology, providing tangible targets that institutions and individuals alive can strive towards to contribute to a socially just and environmentally conscious future. We were then dismissed for a lunch break.
Following this, we had an interactive presentation by Annemarie Pothaar, which challenged all present to rethink why we were part of EXARC; what it means for us; and, what it means for others. These are not easy questions to answer, however the exercise made the audience dig deeper into the meaning of EXARC, ultimately into how we can continue making it our own in the name of professional methods, data and partnerships within our network.
Finally, Matilda Siebrecht’s presentation of her work in the Arctic served to showcase the difficulties encountered when collaborating with indigenous people, and how to correct these in order to give them the place that is theirs within the context of their very own traditional tangible and intangible material culture. Moreover, Matilda highlighted the benefits and necessity of working alongside them to get accurate interpretations and facilitating field work. Lastly, she explained the value of outreach via social media, and imparted the strategy she employs to create an Instagram post which captures an audience, sending an archaeological yet relatable message.
I believe that the day was a success for everyone involved. It gave us the opportunity to meet in person some of the volunteers that we have been working with on an online basis, as well as meeting new faces and sharing interests with others creating further connections. Additionally, we continued to educate ourselves as individuals and as an organisation, with an outlook for the future to come, placing ourselves as an organisation that truly listens to its volunteers, members, and the world at large. I look forward to the next Volunteer Day to see what more we can do as a team to improve EXARC, the field and the world from our own corner.
The EXARC Volunteer day 2020 is supported by The Cultural Participation Fund. The Cultural Participation Fund aims to encourage and increase participation in the arts and culture.
Check the links below and see the Interviews with EXARC volunteers / members.