French to discuss "American Treasures" reality show at Research Unplugged

By Melissa Beattie Moss
October 14, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Kirk French will present "American Treasures: Archaeology Meets 'Reality' TV" at Penn State's second Research Unplugged event of the fall semester on Oct. 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Schlow Centre Region Library, downtown State College.

French is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and his research interests include urbanization, public space and human water usage. With Penn State hydrologist Chris Duffy, French researched the first water pressure system in the New World, which he discovered in Palenque, Mexico.

For his Research Unplugged presentation, French will discuss his experience co-hosting "American Treasures," a short-lived reality television series on Discovery Channel. The concept was that French would travel across the country exploring inquiries from everyday Americans who think they possess items that may have historical significance.

The relationship between archaeology and the media can be fraught with miscommunication and lost opportunities, according to French. His Research Unplugged presentation will address such questions as: Is it possible to bridge the gap between science and storytelling? How broadly is 'reality' defined in reality television? What are some common misconceptions of the role of the archaeologist? He also will show clips from the television program and take audience questions.

Research Unplugged is in its 10th year of bringing together a broad range of Penn State researchers and the State College community for informal conversation.

Research Unplugged events will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 14, and are free and open to the public, with complimentary light refreshments. Limited free parking is available at Schlow Library beginning at 11:45 a.m. The series is made possible with the support of Penn State and Schlow Library.


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    Kirk French , Penn State

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated October 17, 2013