Thursday, May 21, 2015

Congratulations to Frank!

-from the Curator

We'd like to congratulate our Cultural Collections Manager, Frank Salazar III (a resident of Boulevard, CA from the Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation for completing a four month training course entitled "Leadership Training for Enterprenerial/ Small Business/Economic Development" conducted by the California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc. (CIMC).  During the training period, Frank developed a business plan for his emerging business, Condor Bad Creations Nature Themed Apparel.  We look forward to carrying his business' creations in the Museum's gift shop when they are available.

Recipients of this unique training opportunity were selected through a
competitive application process. Trainees received extensive training
from a select group of individuals chosen for their outstanding skills, accomplishments
and expertise in their respective fields and for their contributions to Native entrepreneurship.
The culturally-relevant curriculum included development of analytical skills (e.g.,
feasibility/market analysis, financial projections) and persuasive writing and presentation skills.
Students learned to develop a business plan and received information on resources to start and
grow businesses. Also, the group benefited from the experiences of several successful Native entrepreneurs.

This training program was made possible by funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor
as part of CIMC's Workforce Development Program and through a donation provided by the
Cahuilla Economic Development Corporation.

More than 350 Native American individuals have completed this Native entrepreneur training
program during the past fifteen years. Through this training program, CIMC, a Native non-profit
organization operating in California since 1978, makes every effort to provide leadership training
to build healthy Native communities by developing the skills of Native entrepreneurs to be profitable
and sustainable in the larger context of Native culture and sovereignty.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wine, Music, and Museums

-from the Curator

Last night our Board held a successful Wine Tasting FriendRaiser at the El Centro Elks Lodge. Over 75 people came out to support the Museum, and the IVPress wrote a lovely article in today's paper. IVDM Society Board President Chuck Fisher talked about the phases of design and development of our new permanent exhibit- with lots of pictures! Cultural Collections Program Manager Frank Salazar gave a presentation on three of the grants he is currently running: Cal Humanities Community Stories, Association for California Traditional Arts, and the National Environmental Educational Foundation.  These grants focus on the importance of videos and oral history in the new exhibit, and use raw footage from the award-winning, Emmy-nominated First People Kumeyaay documentary.

The idea behind our FriendRaisers is that Museum Members and invited guests learn more about some of our programs and experience something a little different. The money raised at these events goes to the Museum's Endowment Fund to support staffing and operations.  The IVDM won a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that will match any money we raise for the Endowment 3:1 through 2019.  For this grant we are committed to holding 10 FriendRaisers during the fiscal year and raising $10,000 through them- as well as additional monies from other sources.  The Wine Tasting was our second-to-last FriendRaiser for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Before this event we had raised a total of $9,000 towards our $10,000 FriendRaiser goal. While the donations from last night's FriendRaiser haven't been fully totaled yet, we are hopeful that between ticket sales, a silent auction, and donations from guests, we will have raised around an additional $2,000.   

Thanks to BevMo! and the Elks Lodge #1325 for supporting our event!

National Environmental Education Foundation

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jacumba Blues Festival

-from the Curator

Saturday, May 2 we took our coiled clay booth up to Jacumba for this year's Jazz & Blues Festival.  A great group of kids joined us to learn how to make clay bowls- all first timers to our program.  About 125 people came out for great music and great food.  We saw old friends, met new ones, and everyone had a great time!
Thanks for inviting us Jacumba Arts Council!

Learning to make pots

History on the Go! in Jacumba

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Member Friendraiser: Testing interactives

-from the Curator

First visitors at the 'Water is Life' topo map

Today a group of visitors attended a Friendraiser hosted by Board Member Lisa Gallinat at the Museum.  Friendraisers are designed as small, intimate events where attendees explore a behind the scenes aspect of the museum or lecture while raising money for the Museum's Endowment fund. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the donations given for this event are matched by the NEH.

Discovering a mountain lion

Today our event visitors were the first to see two new interactive exhibits as part of the installation of the Museum's new permanent exhibit.  At the "Land of Extremes" visitors were introduced to panoramic images of the valley projected onto a screen. Using a touchscreen they experimented with zooming in to close up images, using icons to explore the desert and hiking destinations.  The second new interactive, "Water is Life" is a topographic map that projects images of the ocean and Lake Cahuilla as it fills and recedes in the Imperial Valley. A touchscreen allows visitors to see different animals that would have been present at different times in the Valley's history. 
Although they will not yet be on every day, over the next several weeks we will be testing these interactives, working out the bugs in the systems, seeing how people use them, and how long they stay at the different stations.
Exploring the 'Land of Extremes'

Exploring the changing water projections of Lake Cahuilla

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Frequently asked question: When will you open?

-from the Director

Archaeology section- under development
"When will you open?" is a question we have been getting a lot lately. Currently, we are installing the casework for Phase I and Phase 2 of our exhibit. This will take 3 weeks.  Though this is a lot like installing furniture, it is big furniture, and just like at your house, it also requires a lot of painting and wallpapering.  After installation, museum staff will have three weeks to complete painting, put back ceilings, and do a deep cleaning.

After the rocks and casework are installed and the museum is cleaned up, we will be installing interactives, media, and software. This entails setting up computers and LCD projectors and requires three more weeks to make sure everything is installed properly and running correctly.  After all this, we will prepare artifacts for mounting and installation. This is the most complicated and time consuming step that museum staff will be doing. This will take most of the summer.

Painting and protecting rocks
A Borrego Sheep & mountain lion in the new exhibit

Phase 3 of the exhibit will cover the geology of Imperial Valley, and we are hoping that there will be public support to finish our exhibit sooner rather than later. If this is the case, we will complete the final design for Phase 3 in the fall and install these components this winter. This would allow us to have an official "grand opening" in the spring of next year.

Until then, we are planning a series of rolling soft openings for our members and a few for the public as exhibit software is tested and comes fully online or as artifacts get installed in specific cases.

We are not taking the traditional approach to opening a new museum where visitors don't see anything until a grand unveiling. We have had people come in the building throughout the process and many have seen the behind-the-scenes process that goes into building a permanent museum exhibit.  We want our visitors to feel involved every step of the way, and feel pride and ownership in a museum that they have watched grow into something truly special.

This excerpt is from "Land of Extremes: Desert Museum: Behind the scenes of new exhibit." by Neal V. Hitch. Imperial Valley Press. April 18, 2015. For the full article, see today's Imperial Valley Press.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Water is Life Leak widescreen 30 sec

From the Director:

Today, the installation team from Weldon Exhibits began installing the media and interactive components of the Land of Extremes exhibit. The Habitats in Flux exhibit will be an area where we show six desert animals or habitats that are changing. It includes 30 seconds of video of the ocean (there is a reason you find oyster beds in the Yuha Desert), 30 seconds of big horn sheep, and we just now finished the 30 seconds of clips edited from the trail camera that we have had out on one of our leaky faucets.

We are still waiting to get video on the Condor, the flat-tailed horned lizard, and burrowing owl. With all the work going on in the Valley with the Burrowing owl you would think it would be easy to get video, but not yet.

You will have to wait until after May to see the completed Habitats in Flux interactive, but you can see the first video right now.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Exhibit Installation has Begun

-from the Curator
Looking good, even in protective wrap!
Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 trucks arrived and members of the Weldon Exhibits team spent an intense two days unloading exhibit components.  Wednesday began installation and even at the start of Day 3 you can already see the exhibits starting to take shape. 

Unloading components
Before installation
It's thrilling to see what we've only imagined through design drawings starting to take shape in our museum- we hope you're getting as excited as we are!
WE staff applying photographic mural

Our sheep will supervise the rest of installation