Richard Veit, Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and professor of anthropology, and Melissa Ziobro, curator at the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music and specialist professor of public history, recently published “When the Community Is the Classroom: Archaeology and Public History at the Parker Homestead and Christ Church, Monmouth County, New Jersey” (Historical Archaeology, 2023).
This article examines Monmouth University’s long-term relationship with two community partners in suburban New Jersey as a model for developing a community-based campus archaeology and public-history project anywhere. Through long-term partnerships with the Parker Homestead-1665 and Christ (Episcopal) Church, Monmouth University’s Department of History and Anthropology has trained generations of students in the skills of historical archaeology and public history while providing two venerable, local cultural institutions with support and consultation on a wide range of archaeological and historical topics.
The article concludes that the resulting relationships have not only provided “an exemplary model of ‘town–gown’ relationships,” they also “have created a range of skill-building opportunities for students that have led to internships, professional development opportunities, and careers.”
Veit and Ziobro extend their thanks to the generations of Monmouth University students who have studied the Parker Homestead and Christ Church and “honed their skills as historians and archaeologists at these important local historic sites.” Additionally, the authors “appreciate the freedom the Monmouth University administration has allowed them to engage in such meaningful and dynamic work with their students.”