Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Jessica Nelson

Curatorial Assistant


Dr. Jessica Nelson 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. As Curatorial Assistant, Jessica’s work focuses on the “Engaging the Americas” project, including inventorying collections, documenting objects, and verifying records.