External funding is imperative to the operation of the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA). Approximately 80 percent of our support is generated through grants, contracts, fees, and gifts. OSA regularly applies for University, state, and federal grants that include campus and community partners, and we offer grant-writing assistance to community organizations that are applying for funding.
Partnerships for Preservation Initiatives
OSA has a long history of grant-writing success. These grants typically support scientific research and technology, community engagement, education and outreach, and interpretive services. Because we are located at the University of Iowa, we are eligible to apply for grants from the University of Iowa; Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; Iowa's Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP); Iowa DNR Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP); Wenner-Gren Foundation; and federal organizations like the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and National Archives. Nearly all of OSA's grant applications include partners from outside of our office.
Often our community partners will apply for a local or state grant for special projects. OSA can assist with writing sections of these grants or review and editing. Often these grants involve OSA staff as consultants for various aspects of the project. Likewise, OSA can support collegiate partners applying for federal funding. We have a nationally recognized education and outreach program that continues to innovate. We are especially poised to assist Broader Impacts, which are particularly weak in many grant applications.
Non-profit partnerships are also important to OSA. They are frequently eligible to apply for funding that OSA cannot. In these cases, OSA can assist non-profits with grant development and submissions.
Examples of Grant-based Projects
The Sioux City Railroad Museum's Digging for Railroad History project is partially supported by an HRDP grant. OSA archaeologists completed an archaeological survey on Museum property while teaching volunteers and visitors about archaeology fieldwork basics and worked with volunteers to clean artifacts found during the field project.
OSA received a Community Engaged Scholars grant through the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research in partnership with the UI Department of Anthropology, Meskwaki Nation, and Elgin Historical Society. OSA is assisting the Elgin Historical Society with their Tribes of the Turkey River project through the planning and implementation of community events that offer opportunities for community members to learn about the area's Indigenous past and present, identify and care for family archaeological collections, and record archaeological sites in the Turkey River valley.
Connected for Life: Object-based Digital Programming to Foster Active Minds for Senior Living Communities
OSA spearheaded a grant proposal in partnership with the UI Stanley Museum of Art, Pentacrest Museums, and UI Libraries; the team was awarded with over $200,000 in CARES funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop virtual programs for older adults isolated by the Covid-19 pandemic and a for-the-public website showcasing objects from these four collecting institutions.
When catastrophic flooding impacted a levy in far western Iowa, OSA quickly mobilized partners to conduct emergency salvage work to locate human remains and mitigate damages to an important village site through archaeological survey and excavation. Funded by UI's Arts and Humanities Initiative (AHI) Program, this project offered OSA a unique opportunity to generate additional scientific data and complete site and artifact analyses of a large-scale and under-studied Mill Creek culture village. Partners included the Sanford Museum, Iowa Geological Survey, Iowa Archeological Society, and local residents.
Integrating Archaeology & Environmental Education
Each year, over 1100 6th grade students in the Iowa City Community School District participate in a full day of learning about archaeology through the School of the Wild at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area. OSA's education staff developed the Archaeology Day curriculum, which allows educators to make connections between archaeology and the landscape through three different time periods, supported by a REAP grant awarded to UI Recreational Services.