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Lighting the Way to Archaeology, a Collaborative Outreach Program

Published July 10, 2017

Jessica Rassau, M.A. student in the Art History program in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, served as the graduate leader of the spring 2017 outreach event “Lighting the Way to Archaeology” at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts. Rassau developed the project under the direction of Classics Professor Nancy de Grummond, whose recent research involves teaching archaeology to the visually disabled. Working with de Grummond, student researchers, and the FSU Student Archaeology Club, Rassau organized the program in which tactile activities and 3D printed objects gave visually impaired participants physical access to ancient Etruscan artifacts and the processes of archaeological excavation. Rassau also created a video documentary of this inspiring event, which was then edited and produced by Digital Media/Art History undergraduate Breanna Bruner:

The “Lighting the Way” project is part of an ongoing collaboration between de Grummond, Distinguished Research Professor of Classics, and students from across the University. For several years Prof. De Grummond has worked with student researchers and the College of Fine Arts Facility for Arts Research on the 3D printing of Etruscan artifacts from her archaeological site in Cetamura del Chianti, creating reproductions of fragile materials to allow hands-on educational experiences for museum visitors of all abilities. These objects have been featured in exhibitions at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts (2015) and at the National Archaeological Museum in Florence, Italy in 2017.  In the spring of 2017, de Grummond supervised an Undergraduate Research Opportunity project conducted by Bethany Brownrigg (Theatre / Art History), Jessica Rassau (Art History), and Kristina Hopf (International Affairs). The project, which centered on incorporating the 3D-printed art and artifacts into museum education for visually impaired students, won the Best in Show – Contribution prize at the 2017 FSU Digitech Conference. The project was then put into practice in “Lighting the Way to Archaeology,” organized by de Grummond and Rassau with the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of FSU student volunteers.

In the summer of 2017, both Rassau and UROP team member Brownrigg join Professor de Grummond in Cetamura, where they are participating in the archaeological excavations as well as the Florence exhibition.

Digitech 2017 winners

Kristina Hopf, Jessica Rassau, Bethany Brownrigg, and Professor Nancy T. de Grummond with Best in Show – Contribution prize at 2017 FSU Digitech Conference

Photographs from the Wells of Wonder exhibition in Florence, summer 2017:

Left to right: Dr. De Grummond speaks at opening ceremony, Art History students Jessica Rassau and Kate Kaplan, 3d printed dolia designed by Kate Kaplan, courtyard reception, views of the exhibition.