Expertise and Interests
Museum studies; applied archaeology; community service learning; Native American cultures
of the Eastern Woodlands from 2000 B.C. to the present; New World prehistoric monumental
Dr. Connolly received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
in 1996. Prior to coming to The University of Memphis, he conducted long-term research
projects at the Hopewell Fort Ancient hilltop enclosure in southwest Ohio and at the
Poverty Point earthwork complex in northeast Louisiana. At both sites he specialized
in the analysis of previously excavated but unreported museum collections and their
associated records as a to limit the need for modern field excavations in addressing
Dr. Connolly serves on the Advisory Board of the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Memphis. In conjunction with his role as Director of the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, he facilitates and supervises undergraduate and graduate internships at Chucalissa
and area museums. He is the Chairperson of the Public Education Committee at the Society for American Archaeology and is on the Small Museum Board of the American Association of State and Local History. Connolly blogs at Archaeology, Museums & Outreach.
Dr. Connolly’s current research is at the intersection of Museum Studies and Applied
Archaeology. In Memphis, he works collaboratively with community partners to develop
cultural heritage programs. Most recently he has worked to implement a model where
the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa serves as a hub for community service and community
service learning projects in Southwest Memphis. He also collaborates with Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológico Regional Ancash on developing a sustainable eco-tourism and cultural heritage base in the Andean
village at Hualcayán.
2014 Connolly, Robert P. and Ana M. Rea. Making African American History Relevant
through Co-Creation and Community Service Learning. In Interpreting African American History and Culture edited by Max Balgooy. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
2012 Connolly, Robert P., Samantha Gibbs, and Mallory Bador. The C.H. Nash Museum
at Chucalissa Community Engagement at an Archaeological Site. Museums & Social Issues 7(2): 227–243.
2012 Connolly, Robert P. Scratching the Surface: Resolving the "Mystery" of Poverty
Point. Louisiana Archaeology 35: 79-115.
2011 Connolly, Robert P. and Natalye Tate. Volunteers as Mission. Collections 7(3). Alta Mira Press.
2011 Connolly, Robert P. Moving from Actors to Directors: Evolving Voices of Native Americans in Museum Presentations.
Practicing Anthropology 33(2).
2010 Connolly, Robert P. and Keri V. Brondo. Incarnate Theology and the Social
Gospel: Exploring the Mississippi Model of Episcopal Medical Missions to Panama. In Developing Community/Development People: Intersections of Faith and Development in
Local-Global Contexts, Keri Vacanti Brondo and Tara Hefferan’s (eds.). NAPA Bulletin.
1998 Connolly, Robert P. The Architectural Grammar of Middle Woodland Hilltop Enclosures: Fort Ancient as a
Case Study. In Ancient Earthen Enclosures of the Eastern Woodlands, Lynne Sullivan and Robert Mainfort (eds.). University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
- 2013 Sponsor of the Year, AmeriCorps NCCC, Southern Region
- 2012 New Sponsor of the Year, AmeriCorps NCCC, Southern Region
- 2011 Green Fee Allocation Grant Award, University of Memphis ($12,750)
- 2010 – 13 Museum Assessment Program, Community, Collections, and Institutional Components,
American Alliance of Museums
- 2010 Travel Enrichment Fund Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Memphis
- 2009-2010 Exhibiting African American Cultural Heritage in Southwest Memphis, Strengthening
Communities Grant ($18,000) (co-PI with Dedra Macklin, Westwood Indian Hill Neighborhood