Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Summer Field Trip

~Edgar Bernal Sevilla 

This week, we had an amazing field trip with the Imperial County Office of Education and their Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) summer school class from Southwest High School. Though the class was small, with only two students, they came along with two interpreters and we had a great time. 

They were given a tour through the museum floor by our director Dr. Neal Hitch and myself. Afterwards, they got a special, behind the scenes look at the lab and our collections rooms, and then got to make coiled clay pottery, which they enjoyed so much that they asked us to keep their pots and fire them. 

What was the most fun, though, was the exciting game of Shaahuk, a traditional Kumeyaay game played with a type of dice. The students so thoroughly enjoyed the game that they went back to their classroom the next day and made their own Shaahuk table!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Big Shout Out to Home Depot!

~ Marcie Rodriguez, Education Coordinator

Thanks to Home Depot, we have a new tool box that is being set up  for the testing of Phase 3 of the permanent exhibit. We will be putting a variety of artifacts and tools into the case and recording the reactions and interest within our community to those objects. As we begin preparing for the design and construction for Phase 3, or the third section, of our permanent exhibit, it is important to see what our community wants to see within that exhibit. This case gives us the flexibility to test and get feed back on the subject. A special thanks to Tom Gonzales for picking up the case, and taking it to get it wrapped!


Friday, June 9, 2017

New Computer Means New Work Stations!

~Marcie Rodriguez, Education Coordinator

Thanks to a generous donation from the Museum of Photographic Arts, in Balboa Park, we have 2 new iMacs for the museum! The question the museum faced next was, where to put them? The first one was an easy answer, as the front desk was in desperate need for a computer. The second one was able to find its home today, thanks to a little reorganizing.

The geologic
samples that were spread across the counter in the curation lab were condensed to a bookshelf, where they can still be accessed by staff and public. That left us with a beautiful, empty space to create a new space for staff to work at. Staff were excited to see the completed space, and are excited to have the new computer to work with.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Just When You Thought Field Trips Were Over

5th graders from Brawley Christian Academy were at the museum today.

Though the forecast this morning warned of 106 degree temperatures, that dd not deter from a robust museum field trip experience. This included propagating pencil cactus.

Though it was hot, it was pretty cool! And we had a fun learning objective today.

We filled small ceramic pots propagating Cylindropuntia ramosissima, a pencil cholla native to the Sonoran Desert, and Euphorbia tirucalli, or pencil cactus native to India. 

Though not endemic to Southern California, the pencil cactus grows as big as a tree and can be found as an ornamental plant in private homes around the Valley. When cut it secrets a milky white sap that is toxic, but it propagates super well from a cutting. 

Because it is not native, I refer to it as our No. 2 Pencil Cactus!

Barona Seniors Luncheon

We had a luncheon for the Barona Seniors group today, hosted by our Board member Johnny Elliot. For all of them, this was the first time they had been to the museum.


We had to pry them away from the First People Kumeyaay video when lunch was served, but it was a great day. A nice presentation on the history of the museum by our director, Dr. Neal V Hitch.

The star of the day, however, was the hamburgers from the Red Feather Cafe. They have to be the best hamburger in the Valley.

Though we are closed on Mondays, we occasionally host events. So, if you need a space for something special on a Monday...

Give us a call.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nothing to Wine About

By Edgar Bernal Sevilla

As most of you reading this know, we had our annual wine “tasting”  event on May 18th. This year, rather than being put in a corner presenting about the Childers Collection, I was tasked with socializing... 



What a tough job, I know. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I loved this task.

But it’s not what you think. It’s no secret that I am passionate about my work here at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. I’ve had family in the Sonoran Desert for at least 300 years, so my roots run extremely deep in the desert sand. It was the Imperial Valley Desert Museum that helped spark my interest in our regional landscape, which I had previously (and sadly) thought of as just an empty space between agriculture and San Diego.

My work here has helped correct that misguided view I once held about the desert. Also, working with youth  during the hiking part of our field trip programs has been incredibly fulfilling. Nothing compares to helping children grow up with a different view than I had of the desert, one of disdain and indifference.

Being in a situation where I can talk about my love for the museum and my work there over a glass of wine was fantastic. I enthusiastically talked the ears off of quite a few people at the event. I’ve been told I was all over the place: giving wine recommendations, tending tastings to a few tables, explaining the intricacies between the whites and the reds (in full disclosure, I got a lot of inside information from Fernando Gaxiola, the curator of the wines, when I helped set up the tasting tables – I also had the first tasting of the night!). I wasn’t counting what I was doing, I was just having fun.

But it wasn’t just nothing. I received good community feedback about my newspaper articles, completely unprompted, which was very encouraging for me as a young writer. I had brief conversations about the importance of research at the museum. I was also able to speak of the importance of staffing.  So, behind the facade of just tasting wines and having a good time, I actually got a few important things done, which I think was Neal’s intention when he tasked the museum staff with being part of the event rather than just working the event. 

The important things were that our 2017 Art, Music, and Wine event successfully fundraised several thousand dollars and everyone had fun. I think both of those goals were wildly successful, and in many ways exceeded expectations. Personally, I thought I was going to have fun, but I didn’t know I’d have a blast and make the museum a little money while doing it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wine Tasting Success!

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum's annual wine tasting event, "Art, Music, Wine", has come and gone, and was a tremendous success! We had 162 guests, who enjoyed wine from Baja Wine + Food, hor d'oeuvres from Sobe's Restaurant, music from Wilson Jr High School's orchestra, and an art exhibit featuring the work from the Imperial Valley Artists Collective.

The star of the event were the wines!

"Wow! I was so impressed with the wines from Guadalupe Valley." was one comment.

"I loved all three red wines, but the third one was my favorite." was another.

While sampling wine, the guests were able to participate in a silent auction. The proceeds from both the auction, and the wine tasting went to our National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. This grant is building our Endowment Fund, which will provide two staff positions when fully funded. The National Endowment for the Humanities matches the money raised 3:1, helping us reach our goal of one million dollars by 2019.