I never thought I’d see something cooler than the Glass Forest in the Palisades. Then I met Doug Dupin and the Palisades Museum of Prehistory (PMOP). So freaking cool. At first I was simply admiring the unusual little building and I just thought it was cool looking work shed. Turns out I was way off. Here’s the mission of PMOP:
The Palisades Museum of Prehistory (PMOP), incorporated in Washington DC, is a non-profit regional organization dedicated to promoting the awareness and preservation of prehistoric artifacts in the Palisades of Washington DC.
It is little known by most residents of our area that humans have occupied what is now the Washington, DC metropolitan area for at least 12,000 years. In particular, the Palisades of Washington DC is especially rich in the history of early humans. In light of the area’s rapid rate of development, much evidence of early man’s presence is being lost.
The PMOP will accomplish its mission by providing information, education, and archaeological guidance.
In addition to curation and preservation of prehistoric artifacts, the PMOP will assemble a library of archaeological records, maps, and surveys pertinent to the region’s prehistory. These records are now housed in disparate locations e.g. universities, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, Smithsonian archives. The localized information will be made available in the museum located in the Palisades of Washington DC.
More interest in our prehistory will hopefully allow the PMOP to organize a volunteer network that can react rapidly to events exposing our prehistory – like road works, building excavations, and erosion.
The bulk of prehistoric data remains locked up in government agencies and academic institutions. Many in the archaeological profession believe that releasing this information will encourage people to collect artifacts on federal lands. However well-intentioned, this mindset continues to exact a toll on the prehistoric record. Ignorance of history will guarantee the obliteration of the archeological record as more development continues with little regard to the people who onced lived here.
By providing the public access to the archaeological record, PMOP will boost awareness of our area’s human history. In the end, both professionals and public will benefit from the increase of knowledge.
Because our region’s prehistory spans at least 12,000 years, waves of indigenous cultures have come and gone dispersing evidence over broad geographic areas. The ravages of time have thinned much of that evidence. By recovering more evidence over a broader area, and making that information public, the PMOP hopes to raise awareness and understanding of those who lived here for thousands of years.
In terms of human evolution, the formative years of our species existed in lithic cultures. By greatly expanding the knowledge base of those cultures, the Palisades Museum of Prehistory hopes to shed light on our human nature.
And the executive director, Doug Dupin, could not be more interesting and welcoming. If you’re interested in having a look just schedule an appointment by phone 202-262-2360 or email director(at)pmop.org. Doug says he gets 1-2 visitors a week.
Continues after the jump.
Inside is jam packed with artifacts:
And Doug’s art:
And don’t miss the bunker next door:
More about the museum here.