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Doctoral student explains how artifact gets to a museum

Ever find yourself admiring an artifact in a museum and wondering "How did this get from buried in the ground to sitting in this museum display?" 

Well, Sarah Luthman, a doctoral student at Oklahoma University and member of the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network, is coming to town to answer pressing questions about archaeology and artifact curation.

Luthman will be conducting "From the Ground to the Shelf: A Museum Collection Workshop," at the Museum of the Great Plains on Sunday. 

A former middle school teacher from Ohio, Luthman was teaching math and social studies when she realized she needed a career change.

Two years ago, she packed up everything she owned, sold her house and moved to Oklahoma to become a graduate student at OU.

Luthman wanted to find somewhere she could combine all of her interests.

"I decided to study archaeology because it seemed like a different way to teach the past," Luthman said. 

Recently, Luthman has been given more opportunities to combine teaching and archaeology, which is how she found herself leading the upcoming workshop.

"This workshop is open to anybody at all who is interested in archaeology," Luthman said. 

The workshop will focus on what hapens to an artifact after it has been excavated, but before it is put on display at a museum.

"Very few people, I think, are aware of all the steps that have to be taken to curate that artifact," Luthman said.

Luthman will walk workshop participants through the steps scientists and fieldworkers take to preserve an artifact.

"The main idea is context," Luthman said. "I'm going to be showing the different ways that provenance is maintained on an artifact, so that we can always know where the artifact came from." 

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