Each year, the Society for American Archaeology awards an archaeologist, educator, or institution with the SAA Award for Excellence in Public Education. The award was established in 1997 as a way to recognize one of the many programs and individuals who contribute to the sharing of archaeological information with the public. The winner for 2003 is Jeanne M. Moe, director of the Project Archaeology program.
The Project Archaeology program is funded in part by the United States Bureau of Land Management, and is based out of The Watercourse at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Project Archaeology uses a three-barreled approach to forward the cause of archaeology, by developing archaeology coursework for classroom teachers, scout leaders and museum educators; conducting workshops in using archaeology in the classroom; and providing ongoing regional mentoring between professional archaeologists and educators.
Since Project Archaeology's beginnings, 5,100 teachers in more than 16 states have participated in these programs, affecting more than 150,000 students. The curriculum guide produced by Project Archaeology for the workshops is called Intrigue of the Past, and it is specifically directed towards fourth through seventh grades. Intrigue includes several curriculum guides on fundamental concepts in archaeology; methods and process of archaeological excavation and analysis; and issues in archaeology, such as ethics, rock art, and preservation.
Currently, there are sixteen American states that have active Project Archaeology programs, scattered around the country from Alaska to Arizona, Pennsylvania to Oregon, and Wisconsin to Tennessee. The effects of Jeanne Moe's outreach will undoubtedly echo into the next generation of voters, if not help create the next generation of archaeologists.