Alice Guerrant honored with award

On Jan. 10, 2021, the Delaware Department of State announced that Alice Guerrant, long-time Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist who retired at the end of 2020, had been selected as Employee of the Fourth Quarter. Guerrant received her award certificate in front of the division’s main office at 21 The Green in Dover on April 26, 2021.

Photo of Alice Guerrant holding her Delaware Department of State Employee of the Fourth Quarter award.
Alice Guerrant holding her Delaware Department of State Employee of the Fourth Quarter award.

Following is the statement, written in December 2020 by Jenifer Anderson-Reno, the division’s Historic Property Research Center manager, that was issued by the department when Guerrant’s award was announced:

Alice was nominated for Exceptional Accomplishment, Achievement, Initiative, Leadership and long and outstanding service to the State of Delaware.

As a 40-year employee of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Alice Guerrant has made significant contributions to the Division’s mission, particularly in the areas of archaeological research, project review, and data management. Her professional experience included the survey, excavation, analysis of artifacts, and mapping of notable historic properties such as Kingsmill, Yorktown Battlefield, George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument, Stratford Hall, and Ash Lawn. This work enabled her to make an easy transition to serve as the archaeological supervisor for Division projects, such as the 1984 test excavations in the Sheriff’s yard and alley at the New Castle Court House and the east yard excavations at the John Dickinson Mansion.

As a cultural preservation specialist for the State Historic Preservation Office, Alice reviewed hundreds of projects and survey reports prepared by consultants, in order to ensure compliance with federal regulations, standards and guidelines. She was the author of the first manual on how to conduct cultural resource surveys in Delaware. She also served as one of the principal authors of several statewide historic preservation plans, including serving as a facilitator at public meetings. Her pioneering spirit enabled her to learn and implement new technological advances, creating data bases to manage information on tens of thousands of historic properties throughout the state and to provide a method of tracking project reviews. Alice has also served as a point person for overseeing the digitization of records within the State Historic Preservation Office’s historic property research center. These innovations led to her crowning achievement; Alice was instrumental in the development, implementation, and upgrading of the C.H.R.I.S. online mapping system which now provides the public with ready access to information for more than 50,000 mapped locations, and gives researchers the ability to easily add information on historic properties throughout the state.

Throughout her career Alice shared her extensive knowledge, making professional presentations at archaeological conferences which dealt with a myriad of topics such as social changes in early 18th century Virginia, 17th and 18th century settlement patterns in Delaware, the continuity of rural life at the John Dickinson Plantation, the Kent County owner-tenant system, and the root cellars at the Thompson’s Loss and Gain archaeological site. Alice’s respect among professional and advocational archaeologists is reflected in her receipt of the 2016 H. Geiger Omwake Award, presented by the Archaeological Society of Delaware of which she served as president and continues to serve as secretary.

Staff in all sections of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs can attest to Alice’s generosity in sharing her time and assistance. There is no greater example than her willingness to continue her work with the State Historic Preservation Office in a part-time capacity since her brief retirement in 2017. When I assumed the responsibilities of the Research Center Manager position in the fall of 2019 it was expected that I would have a couple months of training with her before she retired that December. To the entire SHPO staff’s benefit, and especially to my own, Alice has continued as my mentor imparting wisdom and providing encouragement through 2020. Staff at the State Historic Preservation Office accept Alice’s … retirement with regret, for a special colleague, friend, and an incredible resource of knowledge.

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