Society Programs Guide: Programs

Adult Education
Book Clubs
Movies and Performances
Food and Drink
Internet and Digital Outreach
Media and Newspapers
Assisting the National Office
Other AIA National Programs

For all programs—you will need

  1. The right presenter(s) and topic(s)
  2. The right venue (easily accessible, appropriate site for anticipated audience, right equipment for the program)
  3. To provide for the needs of the presenter(s)—laser pointers, water, craft supplies (for workshops), etc.
  4. Appropriate safety precautions and arrangements
  5. Lots of publicity


Lectures are relatively easy to organize and can reach large audiences. The important things are to find a good speaker with an interesting topic, choose the right location, and publicize the event.

National Lecture Program

Between September and May of each year, the AIA sends professional archaeologists to lecture at qualifying societies throughout the United States and Canada. The lecture program provides a unique opportunity for interested people particularly non-professionals to meet practicing archaeologists and to learn of new discoveries. National lectures are FREE and OPEN to the public. Societies integrate the lectures provided to them by Institute headquarters with other locally sponsored lectures and events.

Regular Lectures

Speakers are assigned to societies by National Headquarters according to society requests. Individual lecture tours usually consist of consecutive visits to two or three societies within a geographical area. Housing (usually in a hotel or member’s home) and some meals are provided by the host societies. (If a speaker prefers to stay in a hotel or motel when other housing has been offered by the society, he/she must assume the expense). The host societies arrange for the lecture hall and equipment, provide local transportation for the lecturer, organize receptions, and generally take care of all other local details surrounding the lecture. National Headquarters reimburses speaker travel expenses and offers an honorarium of $150 per lecture.

Lecturers are chosen by the Lecture Program Committee, which is composed of professional archaeologists appointed by the President of the AIA. The Lecture Program Committee meets at the AIA Annual Meeting to consider suggestions for possible participants in the program for the following year and to make a selection. Suggestions for lecturers come from many sources: societies, committee members and other AIA members, and potential speakers. Invitations are sent out each January, responses are processed in February, and preliminary tour schedules are sent for approval by lecturers and societies at the beginning of May.

After the lecture program schedule has been set by Institute Headquarters, the lecturers communicate directly with the society officers concerning details of their visits. Using travel suggestions from their societies, the lecturers make their own travel arrangements. Many lectures are supported by named endowed funds.

Organizing a National Lecture: A Checklist

The annual Lecture Program is one of the most important activities of the AIA. It provides the opportunity for the avocational members and professional archaeologists to meet and discuss subjects of mutual interest and concern.

The AIA is fortunate in having many fine scholars willing to take the time to participate in the program. The remuneration is modest and the travel often arduous, but the repeated participation of many lecturers is testimony to the careful planning and warm hospitality of society members.

As host and sponsor of the Lecture Program locally, the society is responsible for all local arrangements. Lecturers are generally scheduled for a series of three or more consecutive lectures in areas of the country that are often unfamiliar to them. They must depend on your society to assist them in planning their travel.

Contacting the Lecturer

The lecturers have been informed that the societies will contact them first regarding travel information and details of all local arrangements. The lecturers will need this information at least seven weeks in advance of their tours, so please begin your planning and fill out the Pre-Lecture Form from Society forms ( under “Forms for Lecturers and Societies”) as early as possible. This memo is used to facilitate communication with your lecturers about their travel, housing, and program arrangements, as well as giving the society the opportunity to invite the lecturer to address a school group. Make sure that the speaker understands the composition of your audience so that he/she may plan his/her lecture accordingly. All arrangements should be confirmed in writing.

Travel Arrangements

At least seven weeks ahead of their lecture dates, please advise lecturers about the least expensive and most convenient modes of travel to your society. A society member should offer to meet the lecturer at the airport, provide transportation to and from the lecture hall, and assist the lecturer to his/her point of departure. Whenever possible, a member might also offer to act as a guide and/or provide transportation to local points of interest.


Warm hospitality received as a houseguest has been the highlight of many a lecture tour. While many lecturers enjoy, and even prefer, staying in a member’s home, we urge you to be mindful of your guest’s need for sufficient privacy (a private room is essential) and special needs (e.g., allergies to smoking, pets, foods, etc.). Please keep in mind that the speaker may need time to polish his/her lecture and to relax.

If a suitable home is not available, the society must reserve and assume the expenses for a room in a hotel, motel, or university guesthouse. Costs are the responsibility of the lecturer only if he/she requests commercial accommodations. If a lecturer makes his/her own housing arrangements, be sure to get the address and telephone number of the place where he/she can be reached. It’s also a good idea to provide the lecturer with the phone number and email address of the Society Contact to facilitate travel needs and in case of last minute schedule changes.

Lecture Hall

The hall should be conveniently located, of adequate size, with proper lighting and ventilation. A glass of drinking water should be provided for the speaker. It is helpful to show the lecture hall to the speaker before the lecture, so that he/she may have time to become familiar with the room and the equipment.

Insurance for National Lecture Tour Program

You may or may not need insurance to hold your lecture at a chosen venue. Many venues will include your event under their umbrella insurance coverage. When deciding to hold a lecture or event at a new venue, check with them to see if they will require a separate certificate of insurance from your society. .

Audio/Visual Equipment

  • The society is responsible for providing, setting up, and operating all a/v equipment required by the lecturer. A checklist of the most commonly used equipment is provided on the Pre-Lecture Form from Society, which is available on the AIA website ( An experienced member should be assigned to set up and test all equipment before the lecture, and operate the equipment during the lecture. Provide a computer if the speaker does not have one to be attached to a digital projector
  • Have on hand one spare bulb per projector.
  • A microphone may be required; don’t overestimate the speaking voice of the lecturer or the hearing of your audience.
  • A lighted lectern is required for the lecturer to see his/her notes. Have a spare bulb on hand.
  • A laser pointer is the best when the screen is some distance from the speaker. Have a spare bulb and batteries on hand.

Additional Lecture Engagements

AIA lecturers are obligated to present only one lecture at your society. Many, however, are willing to speak in university seminars, to school groups, museum groups, etc., time permitting. Institute Headquarters does not arrange these other lectures; societies do. Invitations must be made prior to the lecturer’s arrival, with fees and terms clearly stated.

Social Functions

These events offer the only opportunity for most members to meet a lecturer. A reception held near the lecture hall immediately after the lecture has proven most successful in encouraging interaction in an informal setting. Dinners before or after the lecture are also good ways for members to meet each other and the speaker in an informal way. Details of all social functions should be supplied to both members and lecturers well in advance.


It is important that your society publicize its lectures widely in order to attract the largest possible audience. AIA policy is that nationally sponsored lectures be free and open to the public. Flyers and press releases should be used to advertise lectures (See Section 2 “Getting Started”, Part c “Publicity: Promoting Society Events” in this Guide for greater detail and examples).

Flyers can be sent to individuals or groups (at universities, museums, libraries, historical societies, churches, etc.) and posted on bulletin boards. They can also be sent to professors with a note attached to “please announce in class”. Press releases can be sent to local city, community, and university newspapers, newsletters, and calendars. Educational TV and radio stations will often broadcast lists of upcoming cultural events (they may also be interested in interviewing a lecturer for a longer story).


Consider co-sponsoring one or more of your lectures with a relevant interest group, museum, university department, etc. Not only might this be financially advantageous (cost-sharing, etc.), but also use of the additional mailing list should bring new faces to the lecture and perhaps to the AIA.

Introduction and Membership Appeal

It is very helpful to have a prepared statement (delivered before the lecture) that outlines the benefits of membership in the AIA. Use the lecture as an opportunity to attract new members. Have membership brochures available in the lecture hall or at the reception. Membership brochures are always available from Institute Headquarters: please email if you need brochures.

Prepare a suitable introduction for each lecturer: what is the speaker’s name and how is it pronounced? Where does he/she come from and what does he/she do? In what field is he/she especially distinguished? What archaeological projects has he/she directed or participated in? What articles, books has he/she published? If you need additional information, request this on your Pre-Lecture Form ( Please also note the history of any special lectures (i.e. Kress, Norton lectures).

Mailing List

Provide a sign-up sheet at lectures for new audience members who wish to receive lecture notices (emails are very cost-effective). Any new face at a lecture is a potential new member. Although many societies can only afford to send announcements to members, even a one-time announcement (with brochure!) can attract a new member.


Please complete and return the Lecture Confirmation and Follow-up form immediately after each lecture. Your comments are the major means by which we can judge the quality of our lecturers. Your reports will be photocopied and sent to your speakers unless you indicate otherwise. We also suggest that you send a letter of thanks to each lecturer. Additionally, the AIA will not be able to give your society the annual Membership Rebate until all follow up forms are received.

Locally organized lectures

In addition to the national program, societies should also explore the possibility of presenting lectures that would be appropriate for their local community. Lecture topics that deal with local themes and topics have the potential to be well-attended. It is also likely that you will attract a different audience for these local lectures and may be able to collaborate with local organizations (historical society, museum, etc.). The main task for a society’s activity or events planner is to find good speakers discussing current topics of general interest. Once the speaker is chosen, the proper venue must be secured. 

When planning lectures, consider the following:

  1. Know your audience and pick appropriate topics
  2. Communicate with the speaker about the nature of the audience so that they can prepare an acceptable talk
  3. Pick an appropriately sized room (some of you may not have a lot of flexibility in this regard)
  4. Encourage speakers to illustrate their lectures
  5. Make sure that the venue has the appropriate support for the speaker’s audio-visual needs
  6. Always prepare a good introduction for the speaker
  7. Make sure that the speaker has laser-pointers, water, and anything else that they may need
  8. Lectures can be given at many different venues and you should be creative in your approach
  9. Make sure that you push membership and the AIA at all events

Enhancing your Lecture

Meet and Greet

A good way to supplement a lecture is by providing attendees with an opportunity to meet and talk to the lecturer. There are many ways to do this and could include a reception or dinner before or after a lecture. A dinner is also a nice way to thank your lecturer.

You can structure your meet-and-greet in different ways. For example:

  1. Make a reservation at a restaurant and go out for dinner. Your society can pay for the lecturer’s dinner and any other attendees can pay for themselves.
  2. Reserve a room near the lecture space (at a university, etc.) and have beverages and snacks waiting there after the lecture. (The refreshments at these events sometimes include beer and wine.)
  3. Have refreshments waiting in the lecture space, at the back of the room.

The idea is to provide an opportunity for your attendees to interact with the lecturer. Customize your meet-and-greet to the tastes and convenience of your members.

Inform the lecturer about the dinner or social hour in advance of their arrival, so that he or she can plan his or her visit to include the event.

While societies cannot charge for national lectures, you can charge admission to other events associated with the lecture. This could help offset expenses for a reception or dinner but make sure that if you do charge a fee all publicity mentions that the lecture is free and that it is the reception/social activity that has a cost.

Other related events

Another way to get more out of the lecturer and your lecture is to see if they would participate in an extended Q & A after the lecture. This could be done in a more informal manner with snacks and refreshments provided.

As with National Lecturers, many presenters are willing to speak in university seminars, to school groups, museum groups, etc., time permitting. Societies in consultation with the lecturer can arrange these supplementary activities. Invitations must be made prior to the lecturer’s arrival, with fees and terms clearly stated.

Lectures—you will need:

  • Good speaker
  • Interesting topic
  • Appropriate location
  • Audio-visual equipment for the lecture
  • To make sure the speaker has a pointer, water, and any other thing they may need
  • Publicity


A workshop reaches a smaller audience than a lecture but the people that participate generally get more in-depth information about the topic being presented. In a workshop it is easier to work with smaller audiences as there is usually an interactive or hands-on component associated with the program. Hand-on activities are harder to organize with larger groups.

Workshops for Teachers and Educators

Hosting a teacher workshop is a great outreach program. Many teachers do not have any background in archaeology, but would love to incorporate it into their classroom especially in their social studies curriculum. Along with providing participants with archaeological information workshops should show how archaeology can be incorporated into the curriculum and the classroom.

One approach could be to use archaeologically themed lesson plans. Teacher Workshops can be an opportunity for teachers to try the lesson and evaluate how it would work in their classroom. Several lesson plans can be found on our website ( Make sure whoever is presenting the lesson plan has already taught it to a class with some success and is comfortable with it.

About 4 months before the workshop:

Start contacting schools and teachers to inform them about the workshop and to find potential participants. This will also give you a chance to talk to teachers who can help you create the final form of the workshop.

Make sure you advertise that space is limited. Teachers will get the most out of a smaller workshop and will be encouraged to sign up quickly!

Also advertise the Continuing Education Credits or Professional Development potential of the program. Look into these through your state’s education department as every state calls them something different and has a different process for registering as a professional credit provider. Offering these will encourage teachers to sign up as they need to earn a certain number of development credits every year to keep their teaching certificate valid.

Other things to advertise: date, time, place, schedule for the day, lesson plans that will be covered, and contact information.

Reaching teachers can often be the most difficult part of this process. We have tried faxing flyers, calling area schools, doing mass mailings, and advertising in public places. Finding contact information takes a lot of research, but if you can get a hold of a particular teacher to advertise, they often use word of mouth through the school. Often, contacting the head of the Social Studies department will be most useful. E-mailing the principal to forward information to their staff can also be helpful. 

Also, you should be working to create a schedule for the day. Here is a sample schedule that we used for our workshop in Chicago, January 2008:

Morning Session: Ancient Writing and Clay

In the morning session participants will experiment with and experience two clay projects. The first lesson will focus on scripts and transliteration, providing hands-on practice impressing cuneiform into leather hard clay and painting hieroglyphs with a brush. The lesson explains the basics of cunei­form and hieroglyphic scripts and illuminates how available media influence writing and art. Rounding out the writing theme, teachers finish the morn­ing session by creating a Medieval Illuminated Manuscript. The lesson is relevant to teachers of history, language, art, and ancient civilizations.

Afternoon Session: Mystery Cemetery

The afternoon session features the AIA’s Mystery Cemetery project, a fun and critical-thinking exercise requiring students to figure out the gen­der, age, and status of burials in a small 3-D simulated cemetery. The buri­als are culture-neutral, but we will discuss ways to incorporate cultural clues to make the cemetery relevant to many different classrooms. The skills of thinking and hypothesis-testing needed to interpret the cemetery apply to science, math, social science, history, art, languages, and more.

How-To Workshops

For a fun event, invite experts to lead workshops on how to make and use ancient technologies. You can choose to make the workshop kid-friendly and family-oriented or more challenging. If well-publicized, these events could attract new members to your society.

Some ideas:

  • flintknapping
  • pottery
  • weaving
  • papyrus making
  • atlatl throwing (replicas of ancient spears – best done outdoors)
  • cooking with ancient recipes and traditional ingredients
  • ancient writing (using Egyptian or Maya hieroglyphs, cuneiform, etc.)

For the sake of safety, as well as authenticity, it is important to recruit a responsible expert, such as a professional archaeologist, university professor, graduate student, or museum educator. However, some undergraduate clubs may also be worth inviting (for example, some anthropology departments have flintknapping groups or competitive atlatl teams). Work with the expert to design a workshop that will meet your expectations and match your specific interests.

You may choose to pay your expert an honorarium, reimburse him or her for travel expenses, and/or provide a meal. You should also cover the cost of materials and supplies. You can charge a small fee to non-members who attend the workshop to help defray these costs.

Be sure to advertise the workshop well in advance. Post fliers in public spaces, like libraries, schools, universities, and rec. centers. Teachers may be interested in learning skills they can use in their classrooms, so ask schools to post the flyer in a teachers’ lounge. List the workshop in the online and/or print events calendars of your local newspapers. Send press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, and television stations.

Think carefully about the venue in which your workshop will be held. Which space is best will depend on the kind of ancient technology you are learning. Consider size, furniture, accessibility of the location, and safety.

If children are expected at the workshop, extra safety precautions should be taken – use common sense, and this should not be difficult. You may want to design simpler versions of the project for kids and provide extra entertainment, like coloring pages and crayons. Remember that kids love to create arts and crafts that they can take home with them.

You can hold a reception after the workshop to allow society members to network with the expert and potential new members. Provide snacks and beverages, and have membership brochures and information about your society on hand. Alternatively, your society could take the expert out to dinner as a gesture of thanks.

How to Workshops—you will need:

  • Appropriate space for the technology being demonstrated
  • Proper safety precautions
  • Supplies and materials for the presenter and participants (these may be provided by the society or the presenter)
Innovative Program

Archaeology Fairs

Family-oriented archaeology fairs, like the Archaeology Fair at the AIA Annual Meeting, are a fun way to bring archaeology, history, and cultural heritage to the public. Invite local archaeologists, museums, historical organizations, student groups, and re-enactors to be presenters. Hands-on activities and demonstrations of ancient technologies are always popular.  Provide lesson plans or other materials for teachers and home-schoolers who attend.

Fairs are generally free-flowing and run like an open house. All presenters are at their tables/booths for the allotted time and talk to visitors as they move around the fair. Sometimes groups may want scheduled events, such as demonstrations or talks, and these must be scheduled properly and the schedule made available to the presenters and the attendees.

Organizing an Archaeology Fair

10-12 months before the fair

Begin the search for presenters. Compile a list of local archaeology groups, historical societies, museums, re-enactors, universities, research institutions, artisans using ancient or traditional techniques, and any other individuals and groups that you think would be appropriate for your fair. Also, include state archaeology and preservation departments, national forests, and local CRM companies. Reenactors are always popular and bring history and archaeology to life.

Select a venue and date for the event. Dates, in some cases, will depend on the availability of the venue. Ideally, a venue should be affordable (free) and should be able to provide tables, chairs, and electricity. Also useful are internet connections, audio-visual equipment, easels, and other display and presentation accessories. 

Send a letter to the organizations on your list describing the event, mentioning the possible date and venue and find out if they are willing and able to participate. Include in the letter a description of the types of activities and presentations that you envision at the fair. You can organize a fair around a central theme, but it usually works better if organizations can get creative and produce their own presentations. Presentation should be informative, engaging, interactive, and fun and should encourage active participation. 

6-10 months before the fair

Send out Presenter Agreement (PA) forms to the individuals and organizations that responded positively to the first letter. The PA should include venue, date and times for the fair. Presenters should be asked to commit in writing to presenting at the fair, which days they can participate (if more than one day), and that they should let you know at least a month in advance if they cannot attend. 

Include with the PA a Program Form (PF). The PF asks for specific program details: title of presentation, short description of the program, names of the presenters, contact information for the individual and/or organization, audio-visual needs, electricity and internet requirements, and furniture needs. Generally, the organizer of the event provides one table (6 or 8 foot) and two chairs per presentation. If the presenter needs more furniture, they should specify their needs on the form.

Keep in mind: No matter how excited presenters seem about coming to the fair, not all return their forms in a timely fashion. Set an initial deadline and send reminders before and after the deadline. 

As the agreements come in, create a spreadsheet with all the presenter information: name of organization, name(s) of presenter(s), presentation title, additional tables and chairs and other things they may need, what days they will be there, contact information, and names of all others who will be with them. This is easily updated as the agreements come in. Also, as abstracts come in, put them into a word file and keep these separate. Edit and revise as needed and send back to presenters for approval. Abstracts are often written in a passive voice and need to be re-written to begin with an active verb. These abstracts can be compiled into a printed program before the fair.

If possible, plan an activity that your society can present at the fair. This is a good way to inform people about your society and its activities.

3 to 5 months before the fair

Start the PR for your event. Create flyers and posters that announce the event. Include date, times, location and cost. Also, list names of presenters who have committed to the program. Distribute the flyer as widely as possible. Ask you presenters to distribute them to their contacts. Post the information online. It is often best to create the flyer in a PDF format that can be attached to e-mails and used for printing.

Compile a list of press contacts and send them information about the event. A great, free, easy way to get some publicity is through local websites and local newspaper community calendars.  There is often a portion of the website dedicated to community events, which will allow you to publicize your own event. Prepare an abstract with fair details (date, time, location, cost, brief description, and program) for online posting.

Send out e-mails to all your local contacts including local schools and teachers. Ask presenters to send the information to all their contacts.

2 to 3 months before the fair

Begin designing all of your signage, as well as other posters you may want to distribute. For the fair, we recommend three main posters/signs: general poster(s) to place at the venue (and surrounding area) on the day of the fair to remind people that the event is taking place; smaller posters for each individual table that includes the name of the organization and the title of the presentation (usually about 15-18 inches); and programs with a list of the presenters and the abstracts for their presentations. All of these can be created in any Office program; we use InDesign, Publisher, and PowerPoint. Keep in mind that printing (especially color printing) can be quite expensive so design appropriately sized posters and decide if you really need color. On each of the printouts, include the AIA logo, your society name, date, time, location, cost, and sponsor information (if any).

1 to 2 months before the fair

Make a list of everything that presenters have asked for and make sure that the venue is able to provide the materials. Make plans for presenter parking and meals. If you are providing either or both, try to get an idea of the number of cars and the number of people who will be eating. Find out about food needs and restrictions.

Plan on having your own table, both to check in presenters, as well as to greet guests to the fair, to hand out programs, flyers, and any other handouts you may wish to distribute.

Make a timetable for the day(s) of the fair, including when presenters should be there, when they should start packing up, etc. 

4 to 6 weeks before the fair

Finalize all programs and posters that need to be printed and get them to the printers ASAP.

E-mail or get in touch with all the presenters to remind them of their obligation and provide information about the day’s schedule, parking, lunch and any other logistics.

Make sure that all materials are arranged for and will be at the fair.

Find a few more outlets for press, and put up flyers in the local area to get public attention.

2 to 4 weeks before the fair

Print out name tags for all presenter and volunteers. Make sure to make a few blank ones as presenters will sometimes bring extra people or substitute people without informing you.

Make a floor plan of the venue and arrange the presentations. This can be flexible as you may need to make changes on the day of the fair because of the nature of certain presentations.

Week before the fair

Pack all the items for the fair. This may be done earlier if you are planning to ship materials to the fair.

Print out a list of all your presenters, what they need, contact information, etc., and use this to check them in as they arrive at the venue and to make sure that they have what they need. Print out a map of the hall.

Day of the Fair

Arrive at least an hour before presenters were told to arrive. Many presenters will arrive early. The two hours before the fair begins are usually the most hectic.

If possible, have handcarts and pushcarts ready to help presenters transport their materials from their car to the fair site. 

Check in the presenters and give them a program, their name tags, as well as an optional welcome package. Let them know how/when they will be eating lunch, what time clean-up is, and have a volunteer direct them to their table based on either the map, or have it be first come first serve. Have your own table already somewhat set-up, so you can easily transition from presenter check-in to guest greeting. Make sure arrangements for parking are clear.

This is when presenters will realize that they need things. If you are in a venue that has plenty of resources available, great; however, try and bring things such as easels, table easels, pens, crayons, glue, scotch and heavy duty tape, scissors, bottled waters, etc. Once all the presenters are in place you are ready to open your fair to the public.

If there is a charge to attend the fair, make sure you have people who can sell tickets and control access. Provide people with programs, so that they get an idea of the presentations and can decide the order in which to attend things. Make sure that the program includes any events or presentations that are timed or scheduled for certain times of the day. Guide people through the fair and have volunteers on hand who will be able to answer questions.

After the fair, organize (if possible) a reception or dinner for the presenters. This is a great way to network.

Symposia and Conferences

Invite archaeologists, graduate students, and other scholars to present papers and hold discussion sessions on a series of related topics. Undergrads may want to participate as well, to practice presenting their research, so contact Anthropology, Archaeology, or Classics departments at local universities and colleges.

Generally, you want to pick a broad topic (like the archaeology of your region) and contact professors, grad students, or state archaeologists who specialize in that topic. You’ll often be able to find several speakers by looking at your local university, but you may be interested in having a special speaker from out of town. If so, considering having an honoraria for this speaker and paying for their hotel during the conference. Some speakers may have a travel budget from their institution specifically for attending conferences or giving lectures.

You can also hold a large conference, if your society has good resources, and invite several out of town speakers. Again, be prepared to pay an honorarium and look into defraying costs for staying at a hotel. Make sure you publicize your event through your local university, radio/TV, newspapers, and on your society website.

The following is an example of a timeline for setting up a symposia/conference:

15-18 months before event:

  • Define your purpose.
  • Draw up a list of possible speakers, panels, discussants, honored guests.
  • Decide location, dates, and audience composition.
  • Consider publishing the papers.
  • Find potential sources for funding.

9-12 months before event:

  • Invite speakers, discussants, honored guests: Send statement of purpose, date, place, list of other invited participants, participant’s responsibilities, deadline for response, request for curriculum vitae.
  • Apply for funding: Make realistic appraisal of funds needed for inviting speakers, hospitality, printing, space and equipment rental, food, honoraria, etc.
  • Appoint an organizing committee to:
    • reserve meeting room(s), equipment, reception room(s), etc.
    • arrange for catering.
    • compile a mailing list and do publicity.
    • arrange a block of hotel rooms (at a reduced rate, if possible).
    • send information on accommodations, transportation, etc. to participants.
    • train volunteers.
    • plan sidelights (gallery exhibitions, city tours, films, etc.).
    • process registrations.
  • Begin publicity:
    • When the list of speakers is firm, send flyers advertising the event and asking for volunteers. Flyers should include statement of purpose, date(s), place, list of speakers and honored guests. Include request for registration form and deadline. Include your name, address, and telephone number for responses.
    • Institute Headquarters can supply mailing labels for subscribers in your area to Archaeology Magazine, and society members.
  • Seek funding and publisher if papers will be published.
  • Reserve space.

4-6 months before the event:

  • Have all events firmly planned.
  • Finalize the list of speakers, discussants, and honored guests.
  • Place, date, and time schedule should be set.

3 months before the event:

  • Print a program.
  • Mail the program and registration forms to audience. Include information about accommodations, transportation, sidelights, etc. Set a deadline for registering and raise the price after that. Keep a file of all registrants, their fees, their requests and queries.
  • Mail program to speakers, discussants, and honored guests with information about accommodations, sidelights, etc.

2 months before the event:

  • Get the organizing committee in high gear: take care of final arrangements well in advance.
  • Assign a general supervisor for the day of the symposium.
  • Mail admission tickets to registrants.
  • Contract with caterer for meals and refreshment breaks (if you are supplying these)
  • Arrange for all equipment (slide projectors, microphone, screens, tables, coat racks, etc.).
  • Produce handouts.
  • Assign jobs to be done on symposium day (registration, equipment operation, food service, clean up, etc.).

1 month before the event:

  • Write press releases for newspapers, radio, TV.
  • Produce posters and signage.
  • Make a list of registrants, speakers, honored guests, and discussants.
  • Make nametags.

Day before the event:

  • Take delivery of equipment; install and test it.
  • Confirm orders with caterer and delivery deadlines.
  • Confirm tasks and responsibilities with volunteers and times of arrival.
  • Make a list of all possible problem areas.
  • Make a list of sources of emergency and back-up assistance.

Day of event:

  • Be prepared to deal with any last minute problems.
  • Check early arrival of all volunteers.
  • Confirm registrants/register participants and distribute final program, and other materials.
  • Begin and end program on schedule.

After the event:

  • Clean up.
  • Keep accurate records (from the beginning up to 6 months after the symposium).
  • Pay bills.
  • Begin procedures for publication of papers.
  • Thank all participants.


If conferences and symposia are not your cup of tea or if you want a more dynamic program, a debate may be a good option.

You will need:

1. A current (preferably controversial) topic

2. People who can represent both sides of the debate

3. A moderator who is familiar with the topic

4. The moderator, with the help of society members, must come up with a series of questions

5. Decide on a format. How much time will each person have to answer the question? How much time for rebuttal? Can the moderator ask follow up questions? What about questions from the crowd?

6. Wrap up: should summarize the issue and reiterate the main points made by each person in the debate.

Outreach to Schools

1. School Visits

Organize visits by professional archaeologists and graduate students to your local school system. You can use AIA online resources like lesson plans and videos. Find out what each grade’s curriculum is like and tailor the visit (talk or activity) to build on the social studies or science lessons the students will be learning that year. Teachers will be grateful for this consideration, and students will hopefully be more excited about their studies thanks to your efforts.

First, you will need to find archaeologists and graduate students willing to participate in school visits. (You do not have to be an archaeologist or specialist to present material to children, especially the younger ones. Just make sure that you are comfortable presenting the subject matter and that your information is accurate and current). Some of the members of your society may fit this description. You can also contact nearby universities. Email the contact listed on the website of the Anthropology, Archaeology, and Classics departments – this will normally be an administrative assistant. Ask that contact to forward your message to grad students who might be interested in participating in outreach efforts. You should offer to reimburse participants for their travel costs.

Second, you will need to contact teachers. Email is probably the most convenient way to do this, if you can find teachers’ email addresses. Look for websites of schools in your area. Some schools may not have websites, or they may not list teachers’ email addresses. In that case, you should call the school’s main office. Ask if you can fax information about your outreach program, and if the receptionists will post the flyer in the teachers’ lounge or put copies in mail boxes.

Your emails and flyers for teachers should:

  • Include
    • the name of your society
    • name and logo of AIA
    • your contact information (email and phone)
    • your website and the AIA’s Education website
    • Eye-catching images or logos and an aesthetically-pleasing layout
  • Stress that archaeologists (professionals and grad students) will visit the classroom
  • State that programs can be tailored to fit different grade levels and to build on the class’s existing curriculum
  • Emphasize the cross-curricular utility of archaeology

When an interested teacher contacts you, you should discuss the best time to visit and the most appropriate kinds of activities for his or her classroom. Find out if there will be equipment available for the volunteer to give a PowerPoint-style presentation. Then work out the details with one of your volunteers. Encourage the grad student or archaeologist to incorporate his or her particular skills and experiences into the lesson.

Your society should cover the cost of transportation for the volunteer, you should provide materials for any hands-on activity undertaken in the classroom, and you might also reimburse the volunteer for lunch. After the classroom visit, contact the teacher to see how the lesson went or send an evaluation form.

Multiple visits:

Sometimes a society can arrange to visit a class or school multiple times. This is especially important if you are presenting a curriculum, or a topic that cannot be adequately explained in one visit, or a program that involves many parts—a lecture followed by a hands-on activity or follow-up program. In this case, you can either arrange with one presenter to make multiple visits or you can ask several presenters to each make a single visit (or some combination of the two approaches). Presenters should be reimbursed for travel and possibly given a stipend/honorarium for their efforts. Make payment arrangements with the presenters and be clear about the amount of the stipend or honorarium and the other expenses that will and will not be covered by the society.

2. Book Drives (for schools or libraries)

Collect all your old archaeology, history, historical fiction, children’s, and other books and donate them to a school, hospital, or charitable organization for others to enjoy (Public libraries are not usually in need of used books, but you could ask yours). This is a great way to give back to your community.

Advertise the event, so that the public will donate books as well. Put a notice in the community calendar of your local paper and post flyers at libraries, schools, and other public places. You will need to reserve a space to collect the donations – try a public library, town hall, school, community center, or public park.

If you do not find a local cause in need of books, check out the website You can help reuse unwanted books and increase global literacy.

You can also collect money for books and provide the funds to a local school library that wants to expand its archaeology or ancient civilizations related resources.

International needs

A variation on this theme is for a society to create a fund to purchase books that are needed by foreign scholars and/or organizations that do not have ready access to scholarly works.

Innovative Program

3. Career Days

Contact local public and private schools to see if they have a career exploration day. If they do, ask for the contact information of the person in charge. Then, find out how to participate.

Do the schools in your area hold career days? If so, make sure an archaeologist is in attendance to inspire young students and explain what the job is all about.

It is important that at least one of your representatives at the career day be a professional archaeologist. This may mean the archaeologist is not a member of your society. What is important is that you are bringing a “real” archaeologist, with formal training and certification, to the school. Look for someone who does contract archaeology or cultural resource management (CRM) in your area, and who is RPA-certified (Register of Professional Archaeologists, Ask the archaeologist if he or she would be willing to work with you on this outreach project. Archaeologists often have their own outreach materials and programs and are eager to talk to the public. You might offer to pay for the archaeologist’s transportation and meal costs.

Materials to bring:

  • Occupational guidance/career summary hand-outs. These hand-outs give an overview of archaeology as a career and are prepared by government agencies. The AIA can send you some of these sheets to photocopy, if necessary.  Email to request them. You can also use the O*Net database:  These sheets will answer students’ questions about working conditions, educational requirements, job growth, average salaries, etc.
  • Real archaeological tools. Bring a trowel, a screen, or other field/lab equipment. These may draw interested students to your table. You might not want to bring expensive survey equipment, for security reasons.
  • Replica artifacts. The professional archaeologist might also bring authentic artifacts, as long as they were legally, ethically, and professionally obtained. (You do not want to promote amateur excavation or the collecting of archaeological objects.)
  • Visually-appealing posters, with photos. You might also be able to hook up a PowerPoint presentation to run throughout the event, but the focus should be on the archaeologist interacting with the students.
  • AIA materials. Why not promote your society at the event? Bring flyers advertising your society’s events and activities. Also bring a few membership brochures and copies of Archaeology magazine for the interested students. You can request these items from the main office in Boston, but be sure to make your request well in advance. Email

Throughout the event, the professional archaeologist(s) should talk to the students about what his or her job is like on a day-to-day basis. He or she should also talk about the preparation it takes to become an archaeologist. Any other AIA members participating should feel free to answer questions from students as well.

Be prepared to explain:

  • What archaeology is
  • What the goals of archaeological work are
  • Various methods (survey, excavation, lab work, etc.)
  • Different kinds of archaeology (paleobotany, underwater archaeology, etc.)
  • Stratigraphy and the importance of context
  • Ethical issues (looting, antiquities trade, importance of publishing, NAGPRA, etc.)
  • Different working environments and jobs (CRM, museum work, academics, etc.)
  • Wages/salaries

Remember, your goal should not be to convince every student to become an archaeologist, but to inform any interested student of the opportunities in archaeology. Spark their imaginations!

4. After School Programs

Societies can work with schools and teachers to organize after school programs. The AIA can provide materials and resources to help plan activities for the club. Societies will have to contact schools with the proposal. Schools will generally have to find a teacher who is willing to take on the responsibility of organizing or leading the program.

The program can be scheduled for a few weeks or even the entire semester. Design a curriculum for the program and make sure to include plenty of hands-on activities and field trips. Also, arrange for archaeologists to talk to the students. Societies can organize special lectures, museum visits and other field trips, volunteer days at archaeological labs or on local excavations.

The AIA has created a sample curriculum that could help you design your after school program.  In this case the society’s responsibility is to:

  • Contact the school with the program proposal
  • Communicate with the teacher assigned to the program
  • Provide the materials if possible or at least assist the teacher with acquiring the materials
  • Help the teacher prepare the schedule for the length of the program
  • Assist with technical and expert advice, since many teacher may not have the requisite archaeology background to run the program
  • Help arrange field trips and special lectures for the students
  • Make yourself available to the teachers and students involved in the program

5. Junior Society

Help students in your area form a junior society. Serve as a liaison between the junior society and the AIA.

For this, a society should:

  • Be willing to work as a mentor to the junior society—the junior society could be affiliated with the local society
  • Invite junior society members to all society events and make it easy for them to attend
  • Create special events for the students
  • Visit the junior society and encourage their efforts
  • Put them in contact with other archaeologists that would be willing to work with the students
  • Use materials from the after-school program with the junior society or encourage them to download them and use them during their meetings

6. Create and/or Compile Lesson Plans

Another useful resource for teachers and educators and a good way to inform educators and students about archaeology is by creating archaeologically-themed lesson plans that teachers can use in their classroom. For examples of lesson plans, see  Share your plans with Meredith Langlitz at

To create your own lesson plan follow our Lesson Plan Guidelines, available on our website:

Some things to consider:

  • Define your target age group
  • Look into your state’s social studies and science standards and curricula, and make sure your plans cover their requirement and could be used
  • Consult with local educators
  • List the materials the teacher will need for hands-on activities
  • List the educational goals of the project
  • Describe the procedures clearly, in step-by-step fashion
  • Predict problems that might occur during the activity, and provide advice on how to avoid or fix them
  • You may want to include worksheets for students or a grading rubric for the teacher
  • Include discussion questions for the students to talk about after the activity
  • Make your lesson plan work on a cross-curricular level emphasizing the different subject that would be enhanced by the lesson plan

7. Curriculum Development

Developing a curriculum or components for one that is already in use is a great way to help teachers and schools. Review your state’s standards and look for ways in which archaeology can be incorporated into their themes. 

When creating a curriculum, you should:

  • Identify your target audience (grade level, state).
  • Read over appropriate state curriculum standards
  • Research topic and search online for pre-existing lesson plans (it is often easier to adapt a pre-existing lesson to suit your needs).  Keep in mind the age and skill level of your target audience.
  • Create age appropriate activities (worksheets, projects, etc.) that go along with your lesson as well as teaching materials (background guides, PowerPoints) for the educators.  Many fun puzzles (including crosswords and word searches) can be made online using a free puzzle making service and will complement and reinforce your lessons well.
  • Make sure you list all of the curriculum standards that the lesson fulfills (you can usually cover several) as this will greatly increase the appeal of your lesson to teachers.
Innovative Program

8. Scholarship or Grant Program

Have your society implement its own scholarship or grant program. Create a scholarship to help send a member of your society to field school or to the AIA’s annual meeting (especially if it’s a college student who is presenting).

Contribute to an existing scholarship or fellowship program and identify people from your local community that may benefit from the program. Contact the Development Department for information about AIA’s existing grants and fellowship programs.

Adult Education

1. Classes for Adults

Take archaeology out to the public! Create an adult education class on archaeology to show Indiana Jones fans what real archaeology is all about. There are several ways to organize a class.

Many universities offer classes for retired people and are often looking for new topics and themes.

Contact local organizations including museums, senior centers, or centers for adult education that provide adult education classes. Courses are of varying intensity but most are designed as after-work programs for people interested in learning about a particular topic rather than hoping for academic credit. Contact the local organization and find out what you need to do to start a class.

Museums often have their own adult education courses. Contact your local museums to see if they offer courses. If they don’t, try working together with the museum to institute adult education classes.

Generally, Centers for Adult Education and museums with education classes will pay their instructors. This can be an excellent source of money for your society to help fund other projects—just make sure you have a willing volunteer!

Don’t have a Center for Adult Education or an interested museum? Your society can independently set up a class and advertise it to the public. If you can’t find an instructor who is willing to do multiple weeks, you can always gather several people and cover a new topic/area each session. Classes can be held at different locales. Contact local universities, libraries and museum to see if they have space that would be available for the duration of the class. Ideally, you want a location that is easily accessible by public transportation or has suitable parking options.

Instructors must be able to speak to a diverse audience. They must be able to speak clearly. Lectures designed for a general audience should not be treated as an address to experts. Talks should be lighter and ideally should be illustrated. Many places will be able to provide the audio-visual for the lectures. Instructors must be willing to answer questions. Topics can range from general lectures on archaeology or archaeological methods and techniques to specific regions, cultures, or could even address a theme (wine in the ancient world).

To propose a course, you will need:
• Theme and abstract
• Significance and importance
• Syllabus
• Dates and times
• Location
• Materials needed (for you to present)
• Materials that participants need to bring (or appropriate dress)

2. Outreach to Retirement Communities

Offering archaeologically themed programs to seniors living in retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes is a fantastic outreach opportunity. Retirement communities have the most active and involved seniors; most people in these communities are physically able to attend programs, travel, and are generally interested in outside programming. Therefore, it is often easiest to arrange outreach programs at retirement communities. It is also often the most rewarding for a speaker as attendees are engaged, ask questions, and make comments. To plan a lecture, class, or tour at a retirement community, you should first get in touch with the program directors or social activities coordinators. Seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes are generally less capable of attending programs (especially the active ones like museum tours) and less active.

This is an outreach effort and not really a fundraising opportunity or even a membership drive. Residents at these facilities usually pay fairly high fees for their accommodations and amenities. They are probably not going to have a lot of extra money to make big donations. Talk about the AIA and encourage membership and participation at all lectures but do not expect a great response. Generally, consider this an opportunity for outreach, a chance for people to get some experience giving lectures (especially new professors and graduate students), and a way to connect with your local community.

Planning an event
Most facilities have program directors or social activities coordinators that are charged with creating and organizing enrichment experiences for their clientele. The way to plan a lecture, class, or tour at a retirement community is to first get in touch with the program directors. They are always looking for new programs and are usually interested in archaeology programs because they are different from the usual fare of art classes, singing lessons, crafts, and visits to the local orchestra. Many residents are thrilled with academic offerings and lectures are often very well-attended. Attendance depends on the size of the facility, the physical ability of the residents, and the number of social events on the calendar.

Facilities often have very active social calendars so it is important to contact places early in their planning year (which usually mimics the school year). Activities are generally scheduled a year in advance and organizers need to know the deadlines for proposing programs, events, and activities. Call in the spring and summer to schedule events for the fall and the following spring. This, of course, will vary by facility and region. Many places have specific days of the week assigned for lectures and other days for things like field trips. Most places prefer it when people come to them but depending on the resources they may be willing to travel to a venue. If you are thinking of organizing a field trip, find out if the facility has its own transport. Arranging transport can be expensive and a potential liability.

Types of activities
• Lectures are very popular and they are generally very easy to organize. Ask the program director if there are specific topics that you should consider. Sometimes program directors will help by taking a poll of residents’ interests; otherwise you can suggest two or three topics and see if there is a preference. You can also simply call them and tell them that you would like to offer a lecture on a specific topic. This is facility and program director dependent and will vary. Generally, the specific topics are not as important as the fact that the lectures are being offered; only a few facilities will have distinct preferences. Visual lectures are best: find out from the program director if they have appropriate audio-visual capabilities, most places will have projectors, screens, TV, DVD and VCR capability and a meeting room with an audio system. If they don’t have the equipment, you will need to provide your own. Travelogues go over very well. Audience members who have traveled to the places being described are especially excited to hear in-depth lectures about those places and reminisce about their travels.
• Longer classes: If the community is very active and has a core group interested in longer classes, this is a very good option. Classes generally meet once a week for a few weeks (4-6) for about an hour each week. The biggest issue with this arrangement is finding a presenter (or presenters) willing to commit to the longer format. If facilities are interested in this type of programming they will have topic suggestions or ideas. Many places see this as an adult-education opportunity.
• Summer activities can be different from non-summer activities. You can plan more active programs in the summer but it is sometimes harder to plan longer (multi-week) activities for the summer as many residents travel or visit with family members. To plan these events you will need to discuss options with the program directors. They will have a good idea as to when certain types of programs can be scheduled. Activities could include walking tours of historic districts, museum tours, visits to local digs, etc.
• Tours of museums and special exhibits are great activities. The issues are transport and participants’ physical ability. Some places have their own transport.
• Organize events that are for residents and family members, like a special bring-your-grandchild tour that caters to the age-diversity of this audience.

Many facilities provide modest honoraria for the speakers and some offer meals or other community activities prior to the lecture. The honoraria though modest will generally cover transportation costs and give the presenters a little extra money. Honoraria can be supplemented by the society. Different places will offer different amounts and most will pay more if they want you to organize a longer class. How the money is handled is up to the society. Facilities can pay the money to the society who can then pay the speaker. This is preferable if the society plans to keep some of the money to cover administrative expenses. If the entire amount is going to the speaker, then arrangements can be made for them to receive the check directly from the retirement community. Regardless, all financial arrangements should be made in advance with the program directors and should not be something that the speaker has to discuss or negotiate on the day of the lecture. When selecting presenters make sure that they are clear about their obligations and what they will receive (if anything) as compensation for their efforts. Have lecturers sign a fairly simple contract that clearly explains who will pay them, how much they will get, and what expenses will be covered.

Covering cost of transportation (especially if there isn’t an honorarium) is an important aspect of the program. Often, facilities are a little off the beaten track and may not be accessible via public transport. This is especially true of areas that don’t have a great public transportation system anyway. Covering gas costs and parking fees should be the society’s responsibility.

Things to remember:
• This is a great opportunity for new professors and graduate students to get experience talking to a diverse audience that is generally receptive and friendly.
• The professional and academic qualifications of the person giving the lecture are not as important as the fact that he or she knows the subject, is interesting, can speak clearly, is not patronizing, and has good visuals.
• Presenters must be willing to entertain questions.
• Commitments must be honored as residents look forward to the programming and program directors often cannot make last-minute changes or arrangements to an established schedule. A contract with the speaker makes the arrangement more official.
• Presenters must have fairly flexible schedules as talks are sometimes scheduled during business hours (most are in the evening).

Book Clubs

Organize an archaeology book club. You can choose non-fiction books or historical novels. Try the biography of a famous archaeologist or a mystery set in Egypt.

Each month, club members will read a selected book and meet for a discussion. Take turns hosting and choosing the book of the month. You can spice up your meetings with snacks. Meetings are also a good time to discuss current events in archaeology.

Some suggestions to get you started:
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz (nonfiction)
Stealing History by Roger Atwood (nonfiction)
Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie (fiction)
The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips (fiction)
The Archaeologist was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence by Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler (nonfiction)

• Meeting location
• Book list
• Snacks
• Leader
• Discussion questions/topics

Some ideas for discussion:
Fiction—discuss historical and archaeological accuracy, evaluate how archaeology is presented in the book, write a review, create an entry for an annotated bibliography.

A variation on the book club idea is to have an archaeology activity night for adults. Use activities and resources from AIA’s website to create evening of archaeological activities for your guests.


1. Museum Tours

Members with appropriate expertise could lead tours of local museums. Find members who have knowledge to discuss specific exhibits. Also, try to find days when the museum has free or discounted entrance charges. If the museum does not have free days or discounted days, make sure that your publicity lets people know that they will be responsible for buying their own entrance tickets. Sometimes the tour may be of a special exhibit that has a charge even if the museum entrance if free. Please be aware of these details before you organize your trip and create your publicity. If you are organizing a single tour, try to pick a day and time that would be convenient for the most people. On a weekday, you could pick a day when the museum is open late so that people who work during the day will still be able to attend. If you are organizing multiple tours, it would be useful to give people several options.

Make sure that you include times, dates, locations, directions and parking/transportation information in your publicity. It is also a good idea to include the name and a short bio of your tour leader.

You can also contact museums to see if their staff members lead free group tours. Often museums will arrange tours for groups through their docents. You may have to pay for these and will also be tied into the interpretation presented by the museum. It may be better to arrange your own tour leader.

You can offer this event for free, or have people pay a nominal account. Money could be used for society resources or to provide a stipend for the tour leader.

• Pick an exhibit (special exhibits)
• Find a knowledgeable tour leader
• Pick appropriate days and times (free days, discount, open late)
• Find out about transportation and parking
• Limit numbers (or set maximum number)
• Publicity
• AIA tours should have contextual and ethical content

2. Insider Tours of Special Exhibits with Curators or Professors

Arrange an “insider” tour of a special museum exhibit with an expert. The tour may be led by a curator or a professor. The museum may even be willing to give your society a behind-the-scenes look at its collections.

It is important for your society to maintain good relationships with the museums and universities in your area so that you can use your connections to create events like this. When an interesting exhibit comes to a museum nearby, you should be able to explain to the museum what your society is and ask if you’d be able to arrange a group tour with a curator.

You may also know a professor who is an expert on the topic of a particular exhibit. Ask if he or she would be willing to lead a tour. You may want to pay an honorarium to the guide if he or she is not a member of your society. You should get approval for the guided tour from the museum in advance.

You will probably have to pay either an entrance fee to the museum or to the exhibit itself. You can ask about group discounts or discounts for a nonprofit organization (if your society has nonprofit status).

3. Walking Tours of the Historic Parts of a City

Knowledgeable members can lead others on tours of historical cities. It may also be fun for your group to take a tour led by a professional company in a city you aren’t already familiar with. Around Halloween, try a ghost tour!

4. Podcast Tours

Here’s a twist on the standard historical walking tour: download audio tours of different cities to your mp3 players. You can find many of these “podcast” tours online, for free.

Some examples:
Boston’s Freedom Trail:
Downtown Los Angeles:
Historic Alexandria, Virginia:

Movies and Performances

1. Movie Festivals/Nights

Movie festivals and nights are great ways to get people together. There are numerous movies with archaeological or historical themes that would be appropriate for these types of events. A list of some suggested movies is available online at the AIA website under “TV & Movies”.

AIA movie nights can be distinguished from other movie nights or festivals by including a “scholarly” component. Start the evening with a talk about the movie given by a scholar familiar with the area, culture, and time period depicted in the movie. End the movie with a discussion or panel. Topics for discussion could include accuracy of the events portrayed, alternative explanations and theories for events shown in the movie, etc. Movie festivals can show movies that discuss a certain common theme or region.

Ideas for Discussion:
• Accuracy of the events portrayed;
• Alternative explanations for the theories espoused in the movie(s);
• Authenticity of costume, language, architecture, etc.;
• Usefulness of the movie as an outreach and/or education tool

Movies can be watched on a TV but it is usually nice to have it projected onto a larger surface. Projectors can be rented or if this is something that you would plan on doing frequently, it may be better to buy a projector.

Publicize the events and provide popcorn and beverages. This is a good way to attract people who are interested in archaeology but may be intimidated at the thought of attending an academic lecture or symposium. You may also be able to attract a younger audience with this event.

You will need:
• A venue
• Good audiovisual equipment
• Movie(s)
• Snacks and beverages
• Supplementary activities—presentation, discussion, reviews
• Publicity

2. Movie Reviews

You could make movie reviews an aspect of a movie night. After viewing the movie, fill out the provided form, or use your own format, to describe its merits and shortcomings. Pay special attention to issues of accuracy, although entertainment value should also be assessed. Would you recommend the movie for classroom use?

3. Plays

Stage an ancient play. Greek plays are a good resource. You could also write your own play that illustrates an archaeological issue, informs about a certain region or culture, or portrays an aspect of an ancient culture. Get members to help produce and perform it.

When a local theater is presenting an archaeologically or historically themed play, co-sponsor a performance and host a pre or post performance discussion with local archaeologists.

Talk to local schools, universities, and local community theater groups for help with locations, props, decorations and other things that could enhance your play. It can also be minimal.

This is a good opportunity to reach out to undergrads and graduate students. The Society for Classical Studies ( often holds performances like these at the AIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting.

Make sure you advertise in the community and invite families to come and enjoy your production.

Make a video of the production or stage the performance for film.

4. Public Readings of Ancient Texts

Invite your community to enjoy a reading of one of your favorite ancient texts or find a public reading to attend as a society. The Society for Classical Studies ( often holds performances like these at the AIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting. Classics departments at colleges (like those at Middlebury and Wooster) hold “marathon” public readings of Homer’s works.

The set-up and publicity for a public reading will be similar to that of a lecture. Some considerations:
• Choose a text that will interest many members and non-members
• Find a convenient venue of an appropriate size
• Advertise the event in local newspapers, online community calendars, and on flyers posted in public places (libraries, universities, community centers, etc.)
• Provide refreshments after the reading, to encourage attendees to stay and discuss the reading

Food and Drink

1. Theme Dinners

Recreate an ancient culture or a period in history with a themed dinner. Look for authentic recipes and appropriate decorations. You can be as detailed as you like, but always consider which plants and animals are indigenous to the Old World versus the New World (the Americas), Asia versus Europe, and so on. Think about when contact between cultures led to hybrid cuisines. Work together, and have fun!

For inspiration, check out Julie & Julia author Julie Powell’s Mesopotamian, Mongolian, and Maya recipes, as featured in Archaeology Magazine: Julie’s article (“The Trouble with Blood,” Nov/Dec 2004) earned her a James Beard Foundation award for food journalism.

Also see Shelby Brown’s “Greco-Roman Feast” lesson plan for ideas:    → “Archaeology Lesson Plans” This lesson plan demonstrates many fun ways to immerse yourself in an ancient culture for an evening.

Your themed dinner can be an exclusive event for society-members only or you can sell tickets to non-members.

2. Wine Tasting and Other Food and Drink Related Activities

Hold a wine and food tasting as a social event for your society members, local lecturers and archaeologists, and potential new members. Sell tickets to the public to help defray costs.

Your event should celebrate the ancient origins of wine and feature snacks based on ancient recipes. One of your members can give a short talk on ancient methods of winemaking or cooking. You can choose a theme, like the Ancient Mediterranean World, if you like.

Prefer beer? Dogfish Head brewery has produced three beers based on ancient recipes. They are: Midas Touch Golden Elixir, Chateau Jiahu, and Theobroma. Midas Touch is the most readily available, but you can try to find them all. Check them out on the website

This event can look at the ancient process of making beer and you could find an archaeologist to talk about residue analysis (which is how the ingredients for all the beers were identified). Check out Patrick McGovern’s website (he did the residue analysis for the beer) at

Be sure to have membership brochures on hand if non-members will be attending.

Internet and Digital Outreach

There are many different ways for your society to have a presence on the internet. Some ideas are listed below:
• Website (for your society that includes information about our programs and any other activities with which your society and members are involved)
• Blogs (society or individual members can maintain a blog)
• Interactive digs
• Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking site
• AIA website—make sure the AIA is aware of your programming! Send your newsletters, flyers, emails, etc. to: S We also encourage you to submit your events to our website.

1. Website
As mentioned in the publicity section, maintaining a society website is a great way to publicize your events and develop a following among members of the local community. Make sure the website includes:
• The AIA logo and name of the local society. The AIA logo is available on the AIA’s website for download ( Contact if you need help downloading it.
• A calendar of events that provides a schedule and brief descriptions of your program. Make sure you include location, date and time for the programs.
• Any other information (especially local activities) that you think is appropriate for the website.
The main thing about a website is to keep it updated and current. If the page is not updated regularly, people will stop checking the site.

To maintain a webpage you will need a server to host your site. If your society has connections with a local university, you may be able to ask them (or a specific department, e.g.—classics, anthropology, archaeology, history) for some web space for your society website. Not connected with a university? You can get free web hosting from sites like

1. Blogging

Moving archaeology into the 21st century has never been so fun! Blogging is a great way to let people know what you’re doing in the field, and to keep track of what others are doing. By keeping an online journal of field experiences, others can learn through your experiences. When at home, societies can follow either their own members or other online archaeology blogs to discover what’s happening in the field. It’s easy and fun to start a blog about your life in archaeology for the World Wide Web to share.

To start your own blog, go to, or any other site that will host online journals. Click on “Create a Blog”, and just let your field experience, imagination, and keyboard take you away!

Another great way to integrate the internet into your society’s education is to read the blogs of society members who are currently in the field. Or you can follow blogs currently being published about the world of archaeology. Here is a list of a few to get you started:

3. Interactive digs
If any of your members are working on an excavation, or if you know archaeologists that are, ask them if they would participate in an interactive dig. See for examples of interactive digs. Participants agree to provide frequent updates—notes and images—for people who can log on to a website to follow the progress of the excavation.

Media and Newspapers

1. Local Newspapers

Keep your community updated on your events and activities through a local newspaper. Submit press releases and post your events on printed and online community calendars.

Your society could even become a regular contributor to a local paper, writing about archaeological news and submitting reviews of museum exhibits and historical movies. See if you can start your own archaeology-themed column! This activity will likely attract new members to your society. This is harder to do in this day and age and online may be the best approach. If you prefer writing in cyberspace, see our guidelines for blogging.

2. Newsletter

You can also publish your own newsletter to keep your members informed of local and national AIA events and activities. Review museum exhibits, books, and historical movies. Write about recent news in the world of archaeology. Post information about your upcoming lectures or society events/field trips. Hand out your newsletter at events like membership drives and lectures. You can see several examples of society newsletters at the end of the Programs Guide.

Assisting the National Office

In addition to the programs and activities that reach out to the public, societies can assist the National Headquarters to increase the impact of national programs.

1. Membership Drives

Help your society (and the AIA) grow! A membership drive can help you find other archaeology enthusiasts in your area. The AIA will reward your society monetarily for the new members you recruit. See for information about our Membership Incentive Plan.

Reserve a space and tables in a public location, like a library or community center, where you can hold a membership drive. Be sure to publicize the membership drive in advance. Place an announcement in local papers and community calendars, and hang flyers in public places.

Make sure you can clearly describe what the AIA is and how your society functions. Have copies of Archaeology magazine and the AJA on hand, as well as plenty of membership brochures and handouts about the activities and events your society organizes. Distribute the contact information for your society to potential members and invite them to your next meeting.

To draw people to your membership drive, you may want to add a fun twist. For example, you could hold a raffle at the drive using archaeology-themed prizes, like the Indiana Jones movies. You could also set up an eye-catching educational display about the archaeology of your area.

To request AIA membership brochures for this event, contact

3. General Help with Content Creation

Suggest additional web content, like news, bibliography entries, lesson plans, and event announcements. Tell us what’s going on in your area, and what your society has been working on. Include photos. Email your content suggestions to, and we will pass them along to the website managers.

1. Local Planning for the Annual Meeting

Is the AIA Annual Meeting coming to a city near you? If so, we would love your help!

Annual Meeting webpage:

You can help provide publicity and advertising for the Annual Meeting through local radio spots, interviews, phone calls, flyers and more. Send press releases to local newspapers or post information on online community calendars.

We would especially appreciate help advertising the public events, like the Archaeology Fair and the Public Lecture. Get the word out by asking public libraries, schools, museums, and universities to post or distribute flyers.

Before you start publicizing, you will need details and materials. Contact Executive Director, Ann Benbow (, for more information.

We will likely need your help for more than advertising, so be sure to get in touch with us as soon as possible!

Other AIA National Programs

A. Annual Meeting

The AIA’s Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with the Society for Classical Studies, and takes place during early January. Many affiliated groups, such as the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and the American Numismatic Society, to name just a few, also meet in conjunction with our meeting. As you can imagine, the Annual Meeting schedule is quite full, given just four days to schedule the numerous meetings, paper sessions, and events which take place.

One important aspect of the Annual Meeting is to conduct official AIA business. Typically, the first day is devoted to AIA committee meetings and the meeting of the Governing Board. There are more committees than can be scheduled on the first day, so additional committee meetings are scheduled throughout the next three days.

The Annual Meeting provides an exciting forum for professional archaeologists to present the latest results of their work, much of which has not been published. Some presenters also may be interested in speaking at locally sponsored lectures, making the Annual Meeting a good source of potential lecturers. A Call for Papers is available online in mid-January; abstracts and colloquium proposals are due in late March for the following year’s meeting. The Program Committee reviews all submissions anonymously and determines the meeting schedule. Typically there are seven or more sessions scheduled concurrently over three days.

For members who are active in their societies, the Annual Meeting provides a valuable opportunity to meet other AIA members. The Opening Night reception is often held in a museum or other unique venue within the city. In addition to this reception, many universities and affiliated groups will host smaller receptions throughout the four days.

The Society Breakfast Workshop allows attendees to share their ideas and solve problems. Round-table discussions, usually held during lunch on the third day of the meeting, provide an open and informal setting for discussion of various topics relating to archaeology and to the Institute’s activities. Round-table discussions are always open to all members.

The Annual Meeting is also when the Council Meeting is officially convened. The AIA president reports on the actions of the Governing Board during the past year, and society delegates cast their votes for new officers and for the ratification of any new amendments to the AIA Bylaws.

A Special Public Lecture is scheduled, complementing the ‘theme’ or host city of that year’s Annual Meeting.

Our Annual Meeting is so large that there are a limited number of cities able to host it, and both the AIA and SCS determine the schedule, usually three years in advance.

B. Awards

Each year, the Archaeological Institute of America presents a number of awards to archaeologists, educators, authors, and others whose work has had a positive impact on the field of archaeology. Each award recognizes excellence on the part of an individual or a group of individuals engaged in the pursuit of human knowledge through archaeology or related disciplines. Winners of these prestigious awards are honored at a special ceremony held every year during the Institute’s Annual Meeting. The AIA’s awards include:

• Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
• Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology
• Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award
• James R. Wiseman Book Award
• Conservation and Heritage Management Award
• Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
• Outstanding Public Service Award
• Felicia A. Holton Book Award

For more details and to view a list of recipients, please go to the award section of the AIA website:

C. Fellowships, Scholarships & Grants

The AIA is pleased to offer a number of scholarships and grants for students, publications, and AIA Societies. These scholarships and grants (with a few exceptions) are open to anyone who has continuously been a member in good standing of the Archaeological Institute of America for a minimum of two years. Fellowships and grants can be seen on the Fellowships section of the AIA website at

D. Publications

1. American Journal of Archaeology

The American Journal of Archaeology is one of the world’s most distinguished and widely distributed archaeological journals. Founded in 1885, the Journal continues to devote itself to the advancement of archaeological studies and to the promotion of interest in them. For more information, go to

2. Archaeology Magazine

A richly illustrated magazine directed to the general public, Archaeology brings the excitement and relevance of worldwide archaeological discovery to the professional and amateur archaeologist as well as the intellectually curious. Visit their website at for more information.

3. e-Update

The AIA e-Update is emailed every two weeks. Each issue provides information that includes: new AIA publications, society news, AIA tours, development, and highlights of the Annual Meeting. Sign up online to receive the e-Update (

4. Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin

For over 20 years, the Archaeological Institute of America has published the Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin (AFOB), a resource for students, amateur archaeologists, and others seeking experience in archaeological excavation and survey. To view a list of field schools, field projects, and advice about going on a dig, visit the Fieldwork section of the AIA’s website at

5. Abstracts

The session schedule and abstracts from each AIA Annual Meeting are available online in a searchable database. This feature allows users to browse abstracts by session, or to search abstracts by author name or keyword. To view and search session abstracts, please visit the Annual Meeting section of the AIA’s website at

E. AIA Tours

Each year, AIA Tours sponsors over twenty study tours to locations throughout the world. The tours are led by distinguished scholars who help the participants better understand the archaeological sites that they visit. Nearly 250 people participate in AIA Tours each year. The tours offer luxury accommodations on land, air, and sea for sophisticated travelers seeking an exceptional experience.

The purpose of the AIA Tour Program is to provide a high quality educational travel experience to our customers. The Tour Program also generates revenue that the AIA uses to support other, non-income producing activities like lectures and fellowships. You can check out for more information on the types of trip the Tour Program offers.

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The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.