Projectile points dating back 9,500 years ago are just some of the discoveries made by intern Travis Karlgaard, in his work with the New London Public Museum’s Native American Collection.
Karlgaard, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, was hired by the museum as a summer collections intern thanks to a $6,500 grant by the Friends of the New London Public Museum (FNLPM).
Karlgaard began researching and cataloging the museum’s Lothar Kohnke Native American Collection in early May. His tenure ended on August 12. During his work this summer, he successfully organized approximately 80 percent of the collection.
“This collection is quite diverse,” said Karlgaard. “The Lothar Kohnke Collection contains more than 1,000 artifacts which have originated from around North America, and beyond.”
Karlgaard will discuss his work with the Native American Collection during an open house at the museum at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Museum Director Christine Cross explained; “The purpose of the New London Public Museum is to preserve and promote our community’s natural, native and historical culture. In order for us to achieve this mission we must have good records about our artifacts.”
“Travis’s internship focused on achieving that goal for the Native American collection,” she added. “His background and experience have made him a good fit for this internship. We are looking forward to using his work to further the museum’s mission through exhibits, tours and other access points to the collection in the future.”
In addition to underwriting a stipend for the temporary intern in 2014, the FNLPM grant pledge included funding for equipment and storage supplies needed for the first year of the project.
“This is the type of project that FNLPM envisioned supporting when we became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2011,” said FNLPM board president, Brenda Hansen. “This and the other grants we have provided to the Museum were made possible by the generosity of our members and donors.”
“Our ability to make grants is based upon the funds we raise each year through our membership program,” reports Hansen. Memberships range from $25 annually for an individual and $40 for a family. The group also receives general operating gifts from donors each year.
The New London Public Museum is a regional resource, with a diversified collection that reaches far beyond the city limits.
“New London is quite lucky to have a public museum like this,” said Karlgaard. “A lot of credit goes back to the original founder Charles F. Carr. He was a renaissance man in every sense of the word. He was curious about the world around him, and that’s not a bad thing.”
“The past is very important not only from the large scale sense, but also a local sense,” explained Karlgaard, while photographing and cataloguing artifacts at the museum. “It’s important that we’re not disconnected from our past, because it helps us have a more definitive understanding of where we are.”
Karlgaard developed his passion for archeology and anthropology since his early middle school years growing up in Oshkosh.
In addition to his experience with museum collections, Karlgaard has participated in several archeological digs in the New London area, as well as other sites in the Fox Cities, and as far away as New Mexico.
He said he has enjoyed his work with the Native American Collection at New London Public Museum this summer. Some of the work involved creating a digital copy of a logbook that is over 50 years old. “The bulk of my time was spent on research and data entry for each item in the collection.”
“We basically are detectives, only we’re just detectives of the past,” he said of his profession.
Karlgaard lives on the south side of Lake Winneconne with his wife Kimberly.
He looks forward to sharing more about his work at the open house on Aug. 20. The event is free and open to the public.
To learn more about the open house or the Friends of the New London Public Museum call 920-982-8520 or visit fnlpm.org.