Education and Outreach

Educational Opportunities at the St. Stephens Historical Park: Education is a primary mission of the St. Stephens Historical Commission. Ultimately, the value of the archaeology program at Old St. Stephens is in its ability to educate. In addition to public talks, displays, news reports, walking tours, and publications, the Alabama Museum of Natural History Summer Expedition Program and the University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies have ongoing archaeological projects. These digs allow students and residents of Washington, Clarke, and Choctaw Counties as well as students and volunteers from all over Alabama get hands-on experience in archaeology. In order to continue these important educational programs, the St. Stephens Historical Park desperately needs corporate and private sponsors.

The St. Stephens Historical Commission has worked from its inception to promote the educational opportunities of the park, and archaeology plays an important role in this effort. A self guided archaeology trail introduces visitors to the historic site. The restored New St. Stephens court house houses the commission office as well as a museum.Old St. Stephens historic park has tremendous potential to inspire the young people of Alabama and provide meaningful activity for older citizens of the area. Reviving the St. Stephens Historical Society in one of the new ideas that may provide the conduit for local interest.
Expeditions: The Expedition program was started almost 25 years ago by Dr. John Hall as a way to give high school students hands-on experience in science. Over the years many participants have gone on to careers in various scientific fields while the staff of the Alabama Museum of Natural History has become more proficient each year at running the program. In addition to students, participants now include teachers, historians, and other adults interested in participating in an actual archaeological project.

Each year the Expedition staff chooses a new project. St. Stephens was the year's Expedition for 2003. The science was directed by George Shorter, an archaeologist at the University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies. The particular excavation site was chosen as the first major archaeological project within the town for many reasons. Among them, mapping by the University of South Alabama tied the substantial stone structure to the corner of High and Spring Streets, lots occupied by the Globe Hotel. In addition to the foundations of a large stone building and cellar, several other structures were visible giving anthropologists and historians a chance to study a complex of activity with the potential to reveal more about early life in the town. Also, historical information, though limited, identified the occupants and offered the chance to tie the historical record to the archaeological site.

Old St. Stephens Day: Fall 2002 saw the production of 16 historical vignettes written by local school children and presented in period clothing. The program was directed by Cecilia Adams, Gifted Education Specialist, Clarke County Schools. Blacksmithing, salt production, and other country crafts were demonstrated and the archaeological excavation at the Globe Hotel was also featured. During the two-day presentation 28 classes of 4th graders, Alabama history students, saw these vignettes at various points throughout the park The program was presented again on Saturday for the general public.

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The Old St. Stephens website was created and is maintained by Sarah Mattics
Copyright © 2007 by the St. Stephens Historical Commission.
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Last updated Tuesday, April 03, 2007