Fundraiser to benefit the Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program at UMass Lowell a success
Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program benefits from fundraiser
The Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program is a collaborative effort between the Center for Irish Partnerships at UMass Lowell and the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University Belfast. On Wednesday July 18th, the Center for Irish Partnerships at UMass Lowell held a fundraiser to benefit the Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program at the home of Co-Director Ann Marie Hurley in Lowell.
Dr. Brian Mitchell, former President of Bucknell University and author of the Paddy Camps, was in attendance and spoke at the event.
"This archeological dig near St. Patrick's Church is important because we do not have written records, by and large, to reconstruct what it was like at the point where the paddy camps of clannish laborers became the acre neighborhood of Irish Lowell. Lowell was the home to one of the first permanent Irish American communities of size and it became the largest planned industrial city in antebellum America. We can learn much from the material culture record left behind in the artifacts that are uncovered. These clues, when pieced together, unlock valuable knowledge about how immigrant communities take shape in America. St. Patrick's Church became the symbol for the new neighborhood, full of Irish families in the pre-Famine period whose sons would build the mills and power canals while their sisters replaced the Yankee farm women who made utopian Lowell famous as the great American experiment in paternal capitalism. Their story is that of a post revolutionary America coming of age as society evolved from an agricultural work rhythm to an industrial work cycle that is changing only today. The archeological dig is important because it is the story of how America happened and the critical role that the Irish played in its development."
The event on Wednesday evening helped to raise almost $10,000. In addition to supporting the visit of the team from the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University to excavate at St. Patrick’s Church this week, these funds will enable UMass Lowell’s three student participants, Ami Krawczyk, Katie Henckler and Marcelle Durrenberger, to travel to Northern Ireland to participate in a week of excavation at the Cummiskey Homestead in Crossan, Co. Tyrone.
This program enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the life of the Irish before and after the Great Irish Famine and the role played by the Irish in the development of America during the 19th century. It also provides students with a unique opportunity to participate in a global program that will increase their understanding of a particular moment, the period in which it belongs, and their knowledge of the archaeology of the region in which it is set.
Program sponsors included The Lowell Memorial Auditorium, The Old Court , The UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, Amy and Jim Regan and The UMass Lowell Office of Community and Cultural Affairs.
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