July 5, 2022
Amanda Brobst-Renaud, President of the Valparaiso Society, shares an update with us about what the Society has been up to lately and how they’ve adjusted to pandemic circumstances.
“As with other Societies, the Valparaiso Society learned a lot about hosting our guest speakers on Zoom! The reminders to everyone to mute and the unfortunate “mute-fails” became a place around which our community gathered and learned to laugh as we created virtual community not only across our Society, but across time and space. Even when many of us were “zoomed out,” our active Society still gathered to visit places and times that piqued our imagination and, for many of us, incited “itchy feet” to visit places outside of our homes and offices. From visiting Petra, Jordan, with Dr. Thomas paradise to seeing the ways Dr. Kelly Fanto Deetz works with others to honor the narratives of enslaved West Africans whose stories are held in the walls of plantation buildings such as Stratford Hall. We witnessed ancient casts being utilized in new ways with Dr. Verity Platt, and learned how ancient Etruscans’ practices around animal sacrifice tell a bigger story than feasts in honor of the gods. Prior to the pandemic, one of our members would partner with our dining services to prepare meals to invite us into the worlds we visited and, while we could not eat together during this time, we still shared menus and stories as a way to remember backward to “the before times” and forward to when we can gather once again for a meal. As we continue our new flexibilities in engaging online AIA lectures in the 2022-2023 season, the Valparaiso Society plans to have dinner theater “watch parties,” where we will gather for a meal as we enjoy the presentations of our intrepid archaeologists.”
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this update with our archaeological community!