Archaeology Month in Idaho and many other states is a fun event for individuals and families. In Idaho, it is celebrated in every county of the state with events ranging from lectures, tours, presentations and various activities for the entire family. One such is at The College of Idaho, and its Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History where Jan Summers Duffy is Archaeologist & Curator.
During early May there will be archaeology lectures, presentations and special exhibits not usually viewed by the public. Each year this event is celebrated at the museum with exhibits on local Native American cultures and artifacts of lithics, ceramics, basketry, and other interesting items from all over the world. The museum has a very diverse collection. One is The Meldrum Collection. This donated collection has been appraised as one of the most important in the world and has items that are seen in early editions of National Geographic magazine. Other items not normally on display are Roman pottery from the ruins of Pompeii, Hopi basketry from the Gates Lewis collection and used by professionals and students for research on the Southwest cultures, Pueblo Pottery, African artifacts, Mexico textiles, to name a few. The museum's well known Gates Lewis collections of Southwest Native American artifacts is notable. Others include the Mead Basketry collection of the Northwest Coast, Huntley Lithic Collection of Southwest Idaho, Beal Native American, and the Schumacher African Collection.
Researchers visit the museum from all over thew world to do research on these items and also work with other curators in Entomology, Biology and other sciences.
The Museum works with the community, volunteer groups, scouting troops, archaeology groups, and even law enforcement agencies to help identify ethnographic and archaeological artifacts. The museum encourages student volunteers and internships as well. The Museum is located in Boone Hall which will be closing for building renovation this Summer and will reopen in the Fall for tours and monthly museum volunteer workdays.