The Haffenreffer Museum is proud to welcome Dr. Jessica Nelson as the new Curatorial Assistant for the "Engaging the Americas" Project. The four-year, $500,000 grant was initially awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in April 2018 and aims to document, conserve, and reorganize the ethnographic and archaeological objects in the Haffenreffer Museum collections.
Jessica is a historical archaeologist with research interests in New Netherland, Dutch Atlantic colonies, the 17th century, archaeological approaches to identity, and historic ceramics. She loves learning about people, past and present, through the objects that they produce, use, and discard. Jessica’s interest in archaeology bloomed in high school, while she participated in SUNY Schenectady’s Community Archaeology Certificate Program from 2006-2008. She then went on to get a BA in Anthropology and minored in Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College in 2012, and immediately thereafter came to Brown University’s Anthropology Department for her MA (2014) and PhD (2018). While a graduate student at Brown, Jessica was involved with the Haffenreffer Museum, first as a Proctor (2015) and then as a Visitor Services Coordinator and Culture Lab Assistant (2017-18). Jessica has been involved with fieldwork or excavation projects in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and has taught anthropology and archaeology courses at Connecticut College and SUNY Schenectady.