This is a new project which came from a request from the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (PWCC) in North Minneapolis for assistance in creating a property cultural resources management plan. The PWCC owns a 100+ acre property in Carver County MN that has been used for the past fifty years for a summer camp program. The property was donated by a board member who wished to provide the means for inner-city children of Minneapolis's historically black neighborhoods to experience the undeveloped environment. Due to changes in the county zoning laws, the camp has not been able to operate for several years with their existing facilities, and the PWCC is financially unable to make the necessary improvements. With a survey of the property's cultural resources, however, they may be able to engage in a partnership with the regional parks system in order to create a sustainable management plan that will allow the camp program to resume operations. Survey and inventory are scheduled to take place in the summer of 2010.
This project I hope will prove valuable for a number of reasons. First, it is an opportunity to conduct community-engaged research, not only by providing a service to a disadvantaged community, but also through the investigation of possible archaeological remains of the camp's operation. This may provide one of the rare, but quite rich opportunities to combine archaeological findings with community recollections. Second, we can also provide further educational opportunities to both UM graduate and undergraduate students as well as PWCC community members. Third, it is my hope that the PWCC will continue to be a collaborative partner in research into the archaeology and materiality of the Twin Cities historical urban black communities. And finally, the survey itself will yield valuable information to fill some gaps in regional archaeological inventory of sites.