The following was submitted by Robert Segedi, coordinator of the Future Scientists Program for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who were at the site from June 24-27, 2002.
For the past several years, field experiences in archaeology at Johnson’s Island have been important components of adult and youth educational programs sponsored by The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The adult program evaluation is almost always very favorable, with gracious comments of appreciation such as “My husband and I love to do different things we have never done before. The Johnson’s Island dig was great!” (Jean Meresko, Berea, OH). Comments of the highschool-aged students are often less generous, but they do reveal a certain appreciation for hands-on educational projects that are not available in a traditional school curriculum.
“When we went to Johnson’s Island not only was it physical exercise, it was exercise for my mind. Besides (digging)…during lunch everyday, we learned about the life in a Civil War POW camp…. I found a pig’s jaw and six pig’s teeth. My friend Tiffany found a brooch. It was sooo cool. All in all the experience was great” Ronit Horwitz
“I appreciated the opportunity to go and see how archaeologists work on sites like these. What these people do everyday just blows me away. They get out there and dig in 90 and 100 degree weather…it would be a shame for the site to be closed.” Elizabeth Henderson
“I found a piece of pipe bowl (kaolin)…. I knew it was used and touched by the officers. I also found a metal ring which was very mind boggling. We could not figure out what it was used for.” Carissa Cathcart
“At first I thought that this would be boring and a waste of time. Then I actually found out it was fun…. The task was better once we all knew each other. I hope that others join this program for an experience of a lifetime.” Cosette Seals
“My experience…was educational and memorable. When we first started, we all thought it was pointless to dig and sift to no avail. Although we felt we were coerced into cheap labor, we came away thinking we have been part of a esoteric experience.” Tiffany Liu
“My experience…was intended to be a ‘learning experience.’ And, in a sense, it was. I learned how to dig. I also met interesting staff members that worked at the site….” Anon
“This was a very rewarding experience for the most part, despite one or two people.” Anon
“It was fun learning how to conduct a correct archaeological dig, as well as learning about the history of the Island. The information that may be gained from the items buried is fascinating. The dig…was an experience worth participating in.” Abby Ratcheson
“It was a great learning experience to find and help preserve the artifacts at Johnson’s Island.” William H. Pearce
“The person who is the head of the expedition, Dr. Bush, loves what he does and shares this joy with others. The island is beautiful…” Jasmine Jefferson
“A week of intense physical labour… This was the second year I’ve participate in the dig, I knew what to expect, for the most part. It was really hot and we, once again, deal with Dr. Bush’s reading at lunchtime…. The assistants this year, Mina, Randy and April, were really quite helpful and they kept the mood light.” Rachel Woods
“Dr. Bush brought us to the Johnson’s Island cemetery, and read us diary entries about the daily life of many of the inmates. One…was how the water supply was once ruined because a dead ox was vengefully placed in the water. I found many things during that week…. One was part of a crock…made on a pottery wheel. I learned many things about the Civil War, and helped the world to also learn about that era.” Kalanit Horwitz