Randell Research Center staff and volunteers are excited to welcome our new Collections Manager for the South Florida Archaeology and Ethnography collection, Jennifer Green, to the RRC Team! Jennifer Green grew up surrounded by the sub-tropical diversity of southern Florida, where she spent most of her time exploring outside. Interested in archaeology from an early age, she found a natural progression to studying the Indigenous cultures that once inhabited the landscape around her.
“I’ve always been interested in what it is that makes us human. What makes us tick? What are the connections that we find valuable?” Green said. “As I got older, I was more and more curious about what was happening in my own backyard, which started me down the path to anthropology.”
Green received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Florida Atlantic University, where she studied the pre-Columbian history of southern Florida. After a short stint at the University of Tennessee to obtain a doctoral degree, she’s glad to be back in the Sunshine State, where she recently joined the Florida Museum of Natural History as its new collections manager for South Florida archaeology and ethnography.
During her time at UT, Green managed the Department of Anthropology’s Vertebrate Osteology Collections, which curates over 12,000 reference animal skeletons. This experience cemented her interest in collections-based work.
Green hopes to teach and continue her research into the past interactions and movements of people in the northern Everglades. The region was once a cultural hub for Indigenous people rafting in on languid rivers and sloughs connecting the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf and Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Bay. Tree islands of pine, cypress and mangrove rose above the sawgrass marshes and provided a stable, dry environment where communities came and went for several thousand years.
Jennifer sees collaboration within communities and between institutions as indispensable to museum collections and research. She’s currently working with Michelle LeFebvre, assistant curator of the South Florida Archaeology and Ethnography program, to build stronger ties with the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, which is owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “These partnerships provide the opportunity to evaluate shared goals and find ways to work together to each other’s benefit,” she said.
Green is in the process of finalizing her dissertation, which she plans to complete later this year before moving on to other research projects, but she’s already looking forward to collaborating with researchers at the Florida Museum and the University of Florida.
This article was taken from the Friends of the Randell Research Center Newsletter Vol 21, No. 1 & 2. November 2022.