During the spring semester of 2017, two university students from the anthropology department of Oklahoma State University, Tanner Wiseman and Jeanie LaFon, are examining, studying and researching native tribal archaeological artifacts at the Marland Grand Home. Items from the Bryson-Paddock and Deer Creek excavation sites north of Ponca City along the Arkansas River are being studied and organized with the help of the interns.
The students are learning about items that were excavated in an archaeological dig funded by E.W. Marland in 1926”, said Jayne Detten, Asst. Director of the Marland Grand Home and Marland Estate and supervisor of the site. “The excavation was led by Dr. Joseph P. Thoburn of the Oklahoma Historical Society.”
The excavation unearthed items from “Ferdinandina”, a 1700s Wichita tribal encampment where buffalo and deer hides were processed. The furs and leather items were then traded to the French who had sailed up the Arkansas River from New Orleans.
“The artifacts were in a state of flux and had not yet been collected
into one exhibit in our museum”, said Detten. “It was important to do that
and the students are helping out.”
The students are also writing labels and story boards with descriptions to address the artifacts. The story boards will be added to the exhibit for explanation.
“The university regularly places students at museums and other public sites around the state”, said Detten. “We are very lucky to have these students assigned to our site. Our staff is limited in number and time concerning what we can accomplish, so it’s most helpful to have the input of the interns who are students in the field. In turn, each intern is gaining valuable knowledge of the artifacts and the people associated with them which is part of their required learning.”
Working through OSU under Dr. Stephen Perkins, Associate Professor in Social Anthropology, the students will receive class credit for their experience. Dr. Perkins incorporates the Bryson-Paddock and Deer Creek archaeological investigations into his class curriculum. In June, both students will be participating in a field school with Dr. Perkins at the Deer-Creek site for further class credit.
The students will also be creating a public “Listen and Learn” power point presentation on the 1926 Marland-Thoburn Excavation which will be presented later in the spring. The power point will tell the story of the excavation and show the artifacts found there. The students will be available at the time of presenting to discuss their experiences at the Marland Grand Home and the excavation findings with the public as well.
Later in the semester the students will be helping assemble a “Touch and Feel” hide exhibit which will contain parts of the deer used in the Native American lifestyle. This exhibit will be assembled from start to finish by the interns and supervised by Detten. A corresponding exhibit will include a museum case display of tools used to clean the hides and other related tools which are now in storage will also be developed.
To complement the student‘s efforts and showcase the new hide and tool exhibits, Detten is creating a fictitious 1700s “travel journal” activity to be used by younger students in grades 4th and up which will coordinate with the Marland-Thoburn artifacts and the new hide exhibits. Taking their journal along while exploring the museum, Marland Grand Home visitors will pretend they are a French fur trader traveling up the Arkansas River to Ferdinandina to do business with the Wichita Indians for furs and leather. The journal will take the guests to four locations within the Marland Grand Home where at each stop they will answer five questions about each location. The stops included the Marland-Thoburn exhibit case of excavated items, a large Ferdinandina painting, the Touch and Feel exhibit of deer parts and the new cased exhibit of tools used to tan and prepare the hides.
For more information on the MGH, call 580-767-0427.
The Marland Grand Home is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.
Exhibits at the site include Marland Family and Marland Oil items, American Indians of the Great Plains Tribes and the 101 Ranch and traveling Wild West Show.