Grant Program History

The Public Outreach Grant Program began after SEAC received a request to fund an Intrigue of the Past Teachers' Workshop as part of the Lexington (1994) conference. The workshop was held on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. SEAC also funded an Archaeology Education Reception on Friday afternoon.

During the fall 1994 meeting of the Executive Board, president Ian Brown asked if a committee should be formed to oversee any such grants as well as the Distinguished Service Awards program. During discussion of this, Eugene Futato suggested that SEAC utilize grants to expand public education efforts connected with the annual meeting. At that time, a committee was formed of three board members (Marvin Smith, chair; Margaret Scarry, and Ken Sassaman), to draft a policy governing such grants. By the time the April 1995 issue of the newsletter appeared, there was a column-long announcement of the Public Outreach Grants Program, with a description of what kinds of grants would be preferred, as follows:

Projects proposed for grant funding should promote public awareness of archaeology in the Southeast. Most grants will be for activities held in conjunction with the SEAC annual meeting. Grants for teacher workshops, public symposia, field trips for the public to archaeological sites (in conjunction with the annual meeting of SEAC), printed material for public consumption, or Native American outreach programs are encouraged. Other possibilities might include grants for archaeology week celebrations, particularly to the state which will host the annual meeting of the Conference (SEAC Newsletter 37[1]:1-2).

The announcement of the grant program also included other guidelines, including that the maximum award would not exceed $1,000. This longer announcement appeared for at least two years. Programs in conjunction with the conference, or the state where the conference was to be held, were preferred. Since the first three grant-funded projects after Lexington were also teachers' workshops, this probably set the stage for preference of that kind of workshop. For the Knoxville (1995) meeting, the first grant of the newly formed SEAC Public Outreach Grant Program was awarded to Deborah Woodiel of the McClung Museum for a teacher workshop.

Management and requirements of the grant program evolved over the years. In 1995, the Executive Board decided at their fall meeting that the Executive Officer I position would be responsible for chairing the grant committee. Dick Jefferies took over as chair. In 1996, President Ian Brown suggested that a report from the award recipient be submitted for the Board's information and possible publication in the Newsletter. At the fall1997 meeting of the Executive Board, Judy Bense took over as chair of the grant committee. Ann Early took over as chair at the fall 2000 Board meeting.

After several years of declining applications for the grant, a Public Outreach Grant Review Committee was formed in 2002. Members of the committee were Mary Kwas, chair; Dick Jefferies and Rita Folse Elliott. The committee conducted a review of the history of the grant and made recommendations to the Executive Board to reorganize the grant program and cycle. The Board reviewed and discussed the proposal, and approved a reorganization. In 2004, the new Public Outreach Grant Program was announced, with the new grant cycle beginning December 1 for the 2005 award year.

Current members of the Public Outreach Grant Committee can be found on the Standing Committees page.