As part of episode 33 of the popular YouTube archaeological series titled, Bones and Stones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taZLNFSQQU4 the University of Pretoria (UP) Museums Interpretive Officer, Nicole Hoffmann was recently interviewed by archaeologists, Dr Tim Forssman (UP Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), Matt Caruana (University of Johannesburg) and Matt Lotter (University of Johannesburg). Each week, two to three new 15-minute episodes of Bones and Stones are released online, spanning a great range of interesting archaeological topics.
This specific episode highlighted the University of Pretoria Museum collections with a special focus on the Mapungubwe collection and the role of interpretation in archaeology within a university museum context. Nicole’s interview centred on the idea that university museums are incredibly dynamic and varied spaces. She highlighted the responsibilities of a Museum Interpretive Officer and spoke about aspects of her job, challenges faced when presenting the Mapungubwe collection to disabled groups and a little bit about the amazing collections within the UP museums.
Nicole Hoffmann also a trained archaeologist, together with her colleague Dr Tim Forssman from the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, both introduced in 2019, heritage tours specific for students on the University of Pretoria Hatfield campus. The link of the UP Museums to the teaching modules within Archaeology are an important aspect for actively using museum collections as part of the university curricula.
Since the University of Pretoria has been closed due to lockdown, contact classes were temporarily suspended, and teaching was transformed into online learning. To keep archaeological discussions going during such challenging times, according to Dr Forssman the new series was to “try and overcome this, and navigate the new ‘digital normal’ we were thrust into.”
Recording episodes for Bones and Stones as a YouTube channel was “aimed to keep the conversation around archaeology and heritage going”. Initially, it was intended to appeal to undergraduates and topics were loosely structured around teaching coursework content. However, this idea shifted as more people became interested in the channel including postgraduate students, other professionals and interest groups. The YouTube series now focusses on a range of topics that include discussing recent archaeological papers, student research projects, careers within the discipline and job expectations, archaeologist profiles, archaeological collections and the occasional fun video.
In the future, the aim is to continue with the channel but expand and interview a greater variety of heritage practitioners, scholars and students, as well as develop longer more focussed videos. To follow this interesting series, link and subscribe to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGenKvM1Tut-PUzxwG8latA