Friday, August 26, 2011

Logo Development

Today, I used Adobe Illustrator to create a logo that can be used on gift shop product. The logo on the fence at the entrance of the museum has been used before on t-shirts and other things. However, there is no electronic version of this logo that can be sent to anyone. I took a picture of the logo, brought it into Illustrator, created a line drawing, then filled it in. Wallah, three hours and a whole lot of tedious work later, we have an electronic logo that can be placed on a coffee cup.

Their Loss, Our Gain

A couple weeks ago I received a call from a Museum Member who was at the Border's book store in Mission Valley. The store is closing and they thought the museum should try and buy some of the shelving in order to build our gift shop. I happened to be in San Diego and I was able to get to the Borders store just before they closed to see what was available. It turned out to be a very good suggestion.

This week we have driven over to San Diego twice to buy closeout store fixtures. In June, we developed a plan of priorities that included getting a gift shop going:

"The gift shop is a key component of the visitor information center. The FY 2011 budget includes $6000 in gift shop receipts. Slat wall shelving will need to be purchased and installed. The museum has a supply of desert related books, but museum specific items logo items such as hats, cups, and prints will need to be produced and purchased."  

It took a while, but if all the timing works, we will have the gift shop furnishings installed by the membership meeting in October. This would be a huge step forward.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Volunteer Day

We had a successful volunteer day at the museum today. All of the accession records files were gone through and placed into the new fire proof file cabinets. Many of the files had old, brittle paper records, often original descriptions of the collections. These were being stored in zip lock storage bags. All plastic bags were removed from the files and the records were placed in new Melinex archival sleeves.

This is a very large step. Accession records are now permanently stored in the museum and can be used to cross check and verify artifacts and collections during the re-curation process.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

IMLS Grant

For the last 48 hours we have been working non-stop trying to get everything put together in order to submit an Institute for Library and Museum Service's program grant for the Grants for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program. And it really was most of the last 48 hours as the 6-page narrative text for the grant was written while staff staid up all night at the museum's overnight on Saturday.

A grant was submitted this evening in the amount of $95,779.00 for the planning and development of a Learning Lab. IMLS is funding 30 such labs in museums and libraries across the country. We just received confirmation that our application was received and validated at This is the abstract that was submitted:
The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is planning the development of a Learning Lab. At a minimum, the Lab would be a place where community youth would have access to internet, computers, and printers, and a staff member who could tutor or assist with homework, research, and academic projects. As envisioned, the Learning Lab will be a space where youth can explore natural science informally through connecting the natural history of the desert surrounding the museum with technological applications such as video editing, video webcasting, photo manipulation, graphic design, website development, and a new concept we are calling “geo-blogging.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Last Day in Ocotillo

by Martin Hitch

Last night the museum hosted its first "Starry Night at the Museum" program. This was an event celebrating the end of the museum's coiled clay art summer program, and attendance at the overnight was about as good as we have ever had at the program. 15 children, all  from Ocotillo, spent the night at the museum finishing up their final pots, firing some of the biggest pots made over the coarse of the program in an outdoor fire, cooking hot dogs, and stargazing.

Although  the night was wonderful, it was bittersweet. Not only does the event celebrate the last days of the program, but it also falls on my last day here in Ocotillo before I return to college.

I have had a great time this summer exploring the art of coiled pottery along side the students of Ocotillo, and I would like to thank the museum for providing me with this opportunity. I look forward to seeing this program evolve into something even larger. Whether that means weekend programming, or moving it into the classroom, I am proud to have been a part of this program.

Thanks for the great summer!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Starry Night at the Museum is Here!

Tonight we are hosting our first overnight youth event. We have fourteen kids at the museum. We made pots. We fired pots. We roasted hot dogs. We played games.

It is Midnight. We are just putting on the second movie. Don't you wish you were here?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Coiled Clay Pottery Class

Today was the last coiled-clay art class. As of last week we had had a total of 107 people come to the museum over the summer to participate. Even today, the last class, we had a first time visitor.

What a great program. Now it will take the rest of the year to clean up...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Starry Night at the Museum

The Museum will be holding a Starry Night at the Museum overnight on Saturday, August 13, from 8:00pm to 8:00am. Activities will include coiled clay pot making, t-shirt printing, and movie watching. We will be doing the final pit firing of clay pots made over the summer. This will also be the night of the Perseids meteor shower and we hope to glimpse some falling stars as well. 

The program will be limited to the first twenty kids who sign up with a parent or guardian. Please email to make a reservation.