Who We Are: Hands on Heritage 2016-11-27T15:44:47+00:00


Hands on Heritage is operated by a professional communications team with a combined 60-plus years of experience as writers, historians, archaeologists, museum, web development and social media specialists. Robin Van Auken is an archaeologist and Lance Van Auken is a museum director.

We have experience in developing print books, eBooks, websites, mobile sites,  photo scrapbooks, video scrapbooks, multimedia projects, brochures, pamphlets, and manuals. We are “digital archaeologists” and enjoy working with and preserving old photographs.  Contact us for a free consultation and quote today.

Robin Van Auken and Lance Van Auken

About Robin Van Auken

Robin Van Auken is the Chief Executive Officer of Hands on Heritage. She is a registered archaeologist and a communications expert, professions she uses every day as a cultural heritage and media specialist. She enjoys working on projects, large and small, in the field and in the office.

She also is an instructor at Lycoming College, teaching in both the archaeology (Religion) and communications departments. She has directed multi-year archaeological projects, working with dozens of volunteers and educating thousands of visitors.

In 2015, she added underwater archaeology and PADI scuba training to her toolkit, enabling her to investigate maritime archaeology sites. Areas of focus are prehistoric and historic riverine sites along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

She is a long-time member of Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, having served as a general member, a director, a vice president and president during the past 20 years. Other professional organizations include the Society for Historical Archaeology, Register of Professional Archaeology, the Nautical Archaeology Society and the American Anthropological Association.

In addition, she has 30+ years as a writer and editor, working for daily and weekly newspapers in Florida and Pennsylvania. She is the author and co-author of 10 books on regional history, including “Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball.”

Cultural Heritage Specialties: Researching, writing reports, museum curation, cultural consultation, conducting oral histories, videotaping interviews, instructing, organizing public archaeology digs, overseeing field schools, historic and prehistoric site survey.

Communication Specialties: Writing, editing, researching, interviewing, instructing, organizing workshops, developing website content, strategic marketing plans, app development,  social media organizational plans, public relations, video production, graphic design, and most activities within general print and digital communications.

Educational Specialties: Experience developing curricula for for students of all ages. Confident speaker for groups, small and large. Experience mentoring and advising students, and overseeing independent projects and internships.

About Lance Van Auken

Lance Van Auken is an advisor to Hands on Heritage in exchange for our philanthropic services. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store, a 22,000-square foot museum newly renovated and dedicated to preserving the history of the world’s largest organized youth sports program, and to providing a key educational asset to the children and families of Central Pennsylvania and visitors from around the world.

He directed every detail of the $4.4 million project, from architectural and construction aspects to selection of graphics and artifact mounting. For more than a year, he collaborated with Cambridge Seven Associates of Cambridge, Mass., architect and designer of the new museum, as well as the media provider, Cortina Productions,  and the exhibit fabricator, D&P Inc., to create the world-class museum. The World of Little League museum project remained on schedule and under budget.

As its Executive Director, he leads Little League’s efforts to publicize the new museum through traditional and new media. In his previous role with Little League International, he led the communications efforts, and was responsible for a staff of professionals who created all print, Internet, social media and video productions for Little League — emphasizing the education of millions of children in the program, as well as adults. He produced and directed a variety of short films on specific educational topics for Little League, for in-house and worldwide distribution in several languages.

One of many educational projects Lance spearheaded included a publication for volunteers and a parents on identifying potential child sex offenders. He worked closely with the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in producing frank information on how to protect children from this type of abuse.

He also served as the chief spokesperson for Little League for more than 15 years. His guest appearances include stints on The Today Show, CNN, Outside the Lines, BBC, Al Jazeera, Nightline, PBS, MSNBC and other outlets. He has been quoted in hundreds of newspapers and magazines worldwide.

From 2001 through 2008, Lance was the liaison for Little League International to The White House and President George W. Bush’s Tee Ball on the South Lawn initiative. During that time, 20 Little League Tee Ball games were played at the White House under his direction, with President Bush attending each game.