“Exploring the Past: Archaeology in the Upper Mississippi River Valley” is a three-week school teacher summer institute for twenty-five participants on archaeological theory and methods as applied to the cultures of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. The institute focuses on the archaeology of the Upper Mississippi River Valley from the arrival of the Paleoindian large-game hunters about 13,500 years ago through the development of agriculture and the arrival of European settlers; it also looks at modern land use, using the Amish as a case study. It provides a vehicle for considering how archaeologists give insight into how people lived, adapted to their surroundings, and changed over time. Activities include lectures, discussions, site visits, hands-on archaeological activities, and, additionally, projects for classroom implementation. During week one, participants learn basic archaeological concepts and terms, excavation methods, and artifact interpretation. In week two, they focus on the peopling of the New World and hunter-gatherer adaptations, with specific reference to the upper Midwest. During week three, they explore horticultural and agricultural adaptations, the effects of European contact on the indigenous peoples of the region, and adaptive strategies linking archaeology to the modern day. The reading list includes selections on archaeological practice and numerous archaeological case studies of the region. The institute staff, all affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWLC) and/or the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center (MVAC), include co-directors Bonnie Jancik and Jonathan Baker, and faculty members James Theler and Katherine Stevenson.