Hands on Heritage with Robin Van Auken

Heart of Williamsport Storytelling

January 1 @ 12:00 am - December 31 @ 12:00 am

Public Archaeology Dig

July 11 @ 6:00 pm - September 26 @ 7:00 pm

Grab a Free Novel

August 24, 2016 @ 8:00 am - August 23, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

Meet Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken. I’m a writer with a background in public archaeology. My passion is to discover, recover and study the past, and make it exciting for people of all ages.

My company, Hands on Heritage, manages and markets cultural heritage projects that connect communities and conserve cultural legacies, with an emphasis on interpretation and education. Hands on Heritage also offers a range of professional public relation services, from communication strategies to convergent media solutions. These solutions include web development, event planning, marketing, and speciality publication. No project is too small, nor too large, to discuss.

Outcomes of our work can be seen throughout the region. We’ve helped organizations and communities celebrate milestone anniversaries, designed interpretive panels and historic markers, written local history books and conducted oral histories.

I’ve personally directed multi-year, public archaeology projects, working with hundreds of students and volunteers, and educating thousands of visitors. I’m also a PADI certified diver with an interest in underwater archaeology. I teach Nautical Archaeology, with a Spring Break diving trip in Florida, and American Archaeology, with a local spring field school, at Lycoming College.

I’m also a writer of nonfiction and fiction. If you enjoy Pennsylvania history, feel free to explore my local history books. I’ve co-authored several books with my husband, Lance, and also with our friend, Lou Hunsinger Jr. We have an assortment of narrative and photographic books I’m happy to share with you, including my tribute to Grit: America’s Greatest Family Newspaper and Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®.

Robin and Lance Van Auken

No project is too small, nor too large, to discuss.

Hands on Heritage:
Who We Are

Hands on Heritage is operated by the professional team of Robin Van Auken, Lance Van Auken, and Andrea Campbell. Combined, we have 40-plus years of experience as writers, editors, archaeologists, historians, museum specialists, graphic designers, web development and social media experts.


Hands on Heritage:
What We Do

We are project specialists working with a variety of clients to complete unique projects within budget and on time. Clients include CRM firms needing mitigation assistance, to museums needing exhibits and interpretive panels, to communities celebrating centennial milestones.


Hands on Heritage:
Case Studies

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. From developing museums and parks to editing pamphlets and memoirs, projects can be large or small.


Call or email us at:

(570) 995-1727


Hands on Heritage Public Archaeology

Or find us in person at:

Hands on Heritage
589 Sylvan Dell Park Road
S. Williamsport, PA 17702

News and Nostalgia: Articles of Interest

O’Sullivan and Civil War Ephemera

Interested in the ephemera of the Civil War? The National Archives has released thousands of documents and photographs from the American Civil War, and Wikimedia Commons is organizing them. Civil War Photo: Captain Harry [...]

Kids Dig ‘Arch in the Park’

Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8, Lycoming College Unite to Offer One-of-a-Kind Archaeology Experience to Area Youth MUNCY -- Arch in the Park is a hands-on heritage program designed by students for students. Organized by [...]

Grit Chronicles: Suffrage in Williamsport

On occasion, I share historic news reports and here's one of interest, in honor of Women's History Month. People don't often think of Suffrage as a community effort, but without commitment on the local level, [...]

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Throughout the years, many interesting stories about the people and places of Williamsport and Northcentral Pennsylvania have been published. Many people recall with fondness the “History Shapers” series that Lou Hunsinger Jr. and I created for the local newspaper.

News of Yesteryear & Historic Williamsport is dedicated to educating and entertaining visitors of all ages with stories and illustrations, reprinted here, with permission from the Lycoming County Historical Society, the James V. Brown Library, Little League Baseball, Inc., the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, and various individuals.

We hope you enjoy your visit.

Robin Van Auken’s Books

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Williamsport Sun-Gazette: A Pictorial History

To honor the City of Williamsport’s Bicentennial, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette produced a three-volume, pictorial history.  Primary resources are Grit, Williamsport Sun, Gazette and Bulletin and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette archives.

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Looking for My Novels?

My novels include elements of adventure, mystery, thrillers and even romance. I’ve taken four basic rules suggested by Kurt Vonnegut to heart with my books:

  • Care about the subject.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Sound like yourself.
  • Say what you mean

Robin Van Auken Novels