Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken, a public archaeologist and educator with a journalism background.

I teach American Archaeology at Lycoming College and direct multi-year, public archaeology projects, working with hundreds of students and volunteers, and educating thousands of visitors.

I also teach communications / media writing at Lycoming College, and direct its summer youth program, Lycoming College for Kids.

My educational specialties include developing curricula for learners of all ages, mentoring students and overseeing their independent projects and internships.

With my husband, Lance Van Auken, I operate Hands on Heritage, a consulting firm that helps its clients discover, explore, celebrate and share their cultural heritage through a variety of unique projects. Offering a range of historical research and interpretive services, we can help you tell your story in the format that suits your needs, while adhering to the highest standards of historical practice.

Projects and Case Studies: Hands on Heritage

Hands on Heritage accepts projects based upon merit and interest. We work with for-profit companies and non-profit organizations, as well as communities and educational facilities.

Our combined background is in education, anthropology, communications and sports management. We work with a variety of clients, from companies observing an anniversary, to communities celebrating centennial milestones. We have extensive museum experience, coordinating and implementing project development from inception to opening day.

From developing museums and parks to editing pamphlets and memoirs, projects can be large or small. As professional writers, we produce commemorative books that not only celebrate an organization or event, but stay fresh on a bookshelf for decades.

Click on a project to read more.

Little League Baseball and Softball

Muncy Historical Society

NCC8, Society for PA Archaeology

  • NCC8 Public Archaeology Digs (Webmaster: Robin Van Auken)
  • Archaeological site investigation and registration
    • Fisher Site — 36LY0316
    • Glunk Site — 36LY0345
    • Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 Crash Site — 36LY0351

City of Williamsport

Williamsport Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Other Local History Books

Robin Van Auken’s Websites

Hands on Heritage helps its clients discover, explore, celebrate and share their cultural heritage through a variety of unique projects. Offering a range of historical research and interpretive services, we can help you tell your story in the format that suits your needs, while adhering to the highest standards of historical practice. We can shepherd your project to completion, or lend a hand when needed. Hands on Heritage is operated by Lance and Robin Van Auken, writers, historians and museum specialists with a combined 50-plus years of experience.Visit Hands on Heritage website
News of Yesteryear is dedicated to educating and entertaining visitors of all ages with stories and illustrations of Historic Pennsylvania — particularly Northcentral Pennsylvania. We feature articles and artwork by individuals, as well as reporters and photographers of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and other newspapers that span the 200-year history of journalism in Lycoming County. Some of the notable newspapers with origins in Williamsport are the Lycoming Gazette, the Gazette and Bulletin, the Williamsport Sun, Grit, and the Luminary.Visit News of Yesteryear's website
Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball is the remarkable story of Little League® Baseball, from the first diamond in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to the playing fields of the world. “Play Ball!” charts Little League’s history from the earliest days and shows how, in many respects, its history parallels America’s history: isolation in the beginning; rapid expansion; a civil war of sorts, followed by reconstruction; struggles over civil rights and gender equity; and foreign entanglements. A microcosm of American society, Little League reflects trends.Visit Play Ball's website

Robin Van Auken’s Blog

Paleo & Primal Bookstore

The Paleo Pool collects, curates and shares content and links to quality information about the Paelo / Primal Lifestyle. We encourage the use of organic, whole foods and healthy living.

We recommend the books in this Amazon bookstore. We own them […]

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

One man’s quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. The crash site has received designation from the Commonwealth […]

Just Below Your Feet

A year ago, during American Archaeology Field School, one of my students asked about Cultural Resource Management in Pennsylvania. I told her about CRM and about PA Act 70, which has devastated professional archaeology in the Commonwealth, and encouraged her […]

Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, PA, is a haul up to the top of a mountain, but it's worth it!

Market Square: Postcards of Yesteryear

This postcard gallery  is from the collection of Richard and Miriam Mix, authors of “A Bicentennial Postcard History of Williamsport.”  You may send one of these postcards via email to your friends and family, sharing your enthusiasm for local history. […]

Lights, Action, Camp!

Camping in the dark isn’t fun. Sure, you have a fire, but when you’re sitting around the campsite, especially if you have a canopy or awning, a string of lights not only increases visibility, it creates ambiance.

Now, we’re not full-time […]

Crash Potatoes

I know, they’re completely unacceptable when you’re living the Paleo lifestyle, but they’re okay on special occasions when you’re adhering to the Primal lifestyle.

Crash Potatoes are cooked potatoes that are smashed, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled liberally […]

Grub Hub Camp Kitchen

If you’re in the market for a camp kitchen, you should be looking at the Grub Hub Outdoor Camping Kitchen. This amazing, patented contraption is easy to setup and is packed full of features. The price isn’t for the faint […]

Paleo Carnitas and Plantain Tortillas

I tried a recipe from my newest Paleo cookbook purchase, the The Zenbelly Cookbook: An Epicurean’s Guide to Paleo Cuisine, and even though it didn’t look like the lovely lavendar tortilla in Simone Miller’s outstanding new book, it turned out […]

The Paleo Mom’s Approach

Missing something? Crackers, crepes, pancakes and other goodies? The Paleo Mom has a wonderful book, The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, available on Amazon and the secret ingredient is plantains.

While you’re there, pick up her new […]


I love my Shish Kabob Set. It has simplified life and added a yummy dimension to my cooking repertoire. It isn’t that time consuming and the ingredient list is simple — boneless (organic) chicken thighs, Mayan onions, peppers and mushrooms. […]

Primal Pizza

One of the things most people miss when launching the Paleo Lifestyle is pizza. I searched the Internet and tried various recipes for pizza crusts, and several were alright.

Then I discovered Against The Grain Pizza Shell, a frozen pizza crust […]

It’s Not Easy

I’m not going to lie to you. Going Paleo isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. But, it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family, and you can start doing it right now.

My journey begin in […]

Simple Salad

It’s not difficult to stick with the Paleo Lifestyle (and Primal) when you have so many foods available, and simple recipes like the salad above. Keeping quality ingredients on hand is key, and keeping your imagination stimulated with reading recipes, […]


I love the sweet and salty taste of homemade granola, and every so often I make a batch. I can’t have this stuff in my house all the time or I’d never lose weight.

The beauty of granola is the mish-mash […]

Outdoors with Jerry Zeidler

I first met Jerry Zeidler while on assignment for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. At the time, he was a  Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation officer and I visited his office for background on an article. We chatted and became friends, not only because of […]

Now He Can Sleep

I mentioned in a previous post that I love my Cabela’s mesh chair, but my husband can’t nap in them as I can. At 6′, he’s too tall. His head presses onto the frame, making him uncomfortable if he tries […]

Useful Hammocks

I love a good camping hack, especially one I’ve made. I purchased these useful hammocks from Camping World, but the small wooden rods they came on were useless to me. My camper is a retro, teardrop-shape and the kitchen has a […]

Little Buffalo State Park

Our first introduction to Little Buffalo was the Blue Balls Tavern across the street. Wonder how many photos have been taken of that sign?

Cabela’s Cool Chairs

I admit it, I can’t go by a Cabela’s without stopping. This time, however, I saw the chairs I wanted and couldn’t make up my mind to buy them. They were a bit pricey.

When I got home, I couldn’t stop […]