Now in its 23rd year, the MUSE awards competition sponsored by the American Association of Museums recognizes outstanding achievement in museum media and received applications from museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
“Our goal is to bring to schools the story of ancient America and what life was like before Columbus ‘discovered’ America,” said Lori Belknap, executive director of Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. “Little information is available in history books. Kids are amazed to learn that around 1050 AD, Cahokia was once a city of 10,000 to 20,000 people, larger than London at the time.”
Project Arch-ae-o is a multi-platform program designed for classroom use and geared towards students ages 8 through 12. The web components include six online investigations, simulated digs, streaming video, interactive quizzes with virtual awards, and ongoing participatory projects. A specially designed online management system enables teachers to design individual pathways through the program for each student. The program is free to all who register.
Classrooms participating in the investigations will come away with a better understanding of pre-Columbian civilizations that existed in what is now the United States, as well as the role and process of archaeology. Age-appropriate iPod tours are available for those who visit the Cahokia Mounds site, including an audio tour of the museum and three outdoor trail tours with video movies at each stop depicting life as it was 1,000 years ago.
“We are particularly excited about the Project Arch-ae-o Video Contest,” said Elizabeth Schwartz, executive producer of the project. “Schools across the country are invited to enter and share what they’ve learned with others -- and we hope to get a lot of submissions. Winners will be announced at the end of 2012-2013 school year.”
A map of mound sites in 30 states has been posted together with contest rules. Students are encouraged to create their own video about a pre-Columbian site that they visit over the summer or during the school year and upload it to the Project Arch-ae-o website. To retain educational integrity, student submissions must be authorized by the teacher/parent and are screened prior to public posting.
Project Arch-ae-o is the result of a two-year collaborative effort between the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society, a number of noted archaeologists, and Schwartz & Associates Creative in St. Louis.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is at 30 Ramey Street, Collinsville, Ill., 62234, just eight miles from downtown St. Louis. There is no admission fee but a donation of $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students, and $15 for families is suggested. For more information call 618-346-5160 or visit www.cahokiamounds.org.
Pictured: Screenshot of the Project Arch-ae-o website.