In This Issue: Dr. Connolly Retires, Replica House Furnished, International Archaeology Day, Volunteer Opportunities

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Chucalissa Anoachi 

September 2016

Volume 10, Number 5

Farewell to Dr. Connolly

At his retirement luncheon on August 25th Dr. Connolly (left) was presented with a sediment peel from the excavation trench. 

In his nine years as director of the C. H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, Dr. Connolly made a tremendous impact not only on the museum but also on the many graduate assistants and student interns he mentored.  Dr. Connolly involved his students in all aspects of museum management and constantly challenged them to perform at a professional level.  During his tenure there were many enhancements to the museum, and he often said with great pride, "If you see anything here that is shiny and new, chances are a graduate assistant or intern or volunteer created it."

Dr. Connolly will also long be remembered for his impact on the Westwood community where the museum is located.  He was committed to making the museum relevant to the community and worked closely with community members on projects and events, including a community garden and Veterans' Day and Black History Month celebrations.  The museum now has a Southwest Memphis History gallery which was co-created with local high school students. 

Museum staff are grateful we had the privilege of working with and learning from Dr. Connolly.  He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best in his very active retirement as he continues his research, teaching, and service from his new home in New Orleans.

To keep track of Dr. Connolly, follow his blog at  


The Replica House is Furnished!

Interior photo of the newly furnished replica Mississippian house. The house was constructed in 2012.

The replica Mississippian (AD 1000 – 1500) style house behind the large mound has undergone a major upgrade.  Students, staff, and volunteers worked to furnish the interior with household items typical of the time period.   The family of former University of Memphis provost Ralph Faudree, as well as faculty members of Brown University,  donated funds in his memory to sponsor this exciting project.  
According to former museum director Robert Connolly, “This important addition to the museum’s outdoor exhibits will help educate visitors of all ages about Mississippian lifeways.  The research and creative processes required to produce the furnishings and interpretive aids will provide invaluable educational experiences for university students working on the project. This is indeed a marvelous way to honor Dr. Faudree’s memory and his long-time support of the museum.”

Please visit us soon and see this fabulous addition to the museum's outdoor exhibits!

Welcome New Graduate Assistants

On the first day of training, new graduate assistants were eager to master the atlatl.  Left to right:  Becca Johnson, Jess Johnson, Thomas Gates, Gabriel Short.
Graduate assistants are an essential part of the museum's staff. They design exhibits, lead tours, develop public education programs, manage collections, and much more.  The museum is fortunate to have four wonderful new graduate assistants this year. 

Thomas Gates is working on a master's degree in archaeology.  He interned at Chucalissa as an undergraduate and has a special interest in lithics.  He is currently analyzing Chucalissa's Unit 6 lithics and assisting with collections management.

Rebecca (Becca) Johnson recently relocated to Memphis from Stamford, Connecticut, to pursue a master's in applied anthropology.  After earning her bachelor's degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Becca worked for two years at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. 

Jessica (Jess) Johnson earned a master's degree in art history at the University of Memphis and is now completing the museum studies certificate program.  Jess interned at Chucalissa last year and you can see examples of her artwork in the hands-on-lab.

Gabriel Short is working on a master's degree in liberal studies and has a special interest in archaeology.  He interned at Chucalissa as an undergraduate and helped develop programming in the hands-on-lab.  This past summer he participated in excavations in Romania.

Please come out to meet Becca, Jess, Thomas, and Gabriel. They would love to give you a tour and show you their projects.  



International Archaeology Day

Mark your calendar for International Archaeology Day, October 15, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at Chucalissa.  For the price of regular admission:
  • Tour the museum and mound complex
  • Try your hand at throwing darts with an atlatl
  • See live demonstrations of Choctaw beadwork, flint-knapping, and spear-making
  • Learn by doing in Archaeology Land
  • Watch a 1960 film of Choctaws making pottery, baskets, and blowguns
  • Enjoy guided tours of nature trails


Volunteer Opportunities


Your help is needed for these tasks:
  • Exhibit upgrades
  • Garden and trail maintenance
  • Artifact sorting
  • Assisting with school groups
How can you help?
  • If you have a special skill to offer, please contact us by emailing or calling 901.785.3160 for more information.
  • If you want to pitch in on a Volunteer Day, join us the 3rd Saturday of any month from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  No special skills required!
  • Tax deductible donations support our educational programs and exhibit upgrades. Donate now to keep our projects going.
Family Days - EVERY Saturday at 10am & 1pm
For the price of regular Museum admission:
Take a tour of the Museum, throw darts with an atlatl, conduct a scavenger hunt in our Main Hall, tour the Brister Archaeology Discovery Lab and participate in a fun educational program and craft activity!

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