Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grant Workshop Update

The grant workshop met today, for the third week. Today we went over "budgeting." During the seminar discussion we actually worked on a budget for one of the grants that we are working on. Participants had the opportunity to see how a budget is constructed, in all its boring detail.

The session lagged on, but the budget is probably one of the most important parts of grant writing. Without a budget there is no project. And you must be careful to included all necessary funds. The last thing you want is to commit to doing a project, and then realize you don't have enough funding.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Visiting Professional Profile: Jessica

Jessica is an archives consultant whose publications include Linking Past and Present: Taking a look at the Valuable World of Archives. Previously, she worked as the Special Programs Director at the Turks and Caicos National Museum (TCNM) and at various archives across southern Australia.

The institutions Jessica works for are small in size, but large in scope. In the Turks and Caicos, Jessica coordinated several grant projects, the most significant of which was the After School Learning Program. In the wake of a devastating hurricane, this locally funded project provided computers, internet access, and homework help for underprivileged students. At the end of the program, several students came to the museum to show off their most recent report card: they reach raised their grades by a full letter.

In Australia, Jessica worked on several archives projects to prepare collections for permanent storage. This yearlong visit was not without its fun. Jessica recorded her adventures for a travel blog as she whale watched on the shores of rural Victoria, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, and mentored youth on the 5-day Murray River Marathon.

Jessica is currently coordinating a 6-week grant writing workshop, held Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the museum. Originally from New York, the incredible desert views and pace of life in Ocotillo makes it extremely pleasant way to spend the winter.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What do you do on Thanksgiving Break.

The building has seen a lot of use this past month with two interns working everyday and now a six week grant workshop in full swing. There is someone in the building six days a week. With no cleaning or maintenance staff, there is noticeable wear.

Today, Davis was out of school and because he did not want to make coiled clay pottery, he got volunteered to clean the building. He cleaned all the restrooms, changed toilet paper rolls, and mopped and waxed all the floors. About three hours worth of work. All with no complaining. Well, all with little complaining.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Intern Profile: Jenica

Jenica is a conservation intern with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) El Centro Field Office where she is responsible for working on re-curating and moving the BLM’s artifact collections into the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. Jenica will be at the museum until the first of the year.

 Before coming to El Centro, Jenica participated in two archaeological investigations in the El Paraίso Valley in Northwestern Honduras. These projects were focused on investigating ancient Maya villages on the edges of the Maya civilization and included laboratory work with the artifacts. While assisting Dr. Cassandra Bill, a ceramicist from Capilano University, Jenica discovered her passion for working with ceramic artifacts. The notion that someone made this pottery thousands of years ago to use in their home, much like the dishes used in any house today, is fascinating.

After she graduated from California State University, Stanislaus in 2010 with her BA in Anthropology, Jenica started her work with the BLM as an Archeology Technician in the Arcata office. While in Arcata, Jenica spent three weeks hiking the Lost Coast looking for the earliest archaeological sites in the Americas. She also had the opportunity to explore and excavate a number of Depression Era historic sites that were used for bounty and sport hunting as well as the historic logging town of Falk. These sites have not been excavated in depth and contain a wealth of information that can completely alter current perceptions of life in northern California, Oregon, and Washington from the late 1800s through the mid 1900s.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grant Workshop Wednesday

Today, was the second session of the Museum's grant writing workshop. The director, Neal V Hitch, presented the "Be Your Own Curator" grant that was used to develop technology infrastructure at the Turks and Caicos National Museum. Then participants had an opportunity to review their personal bios which everyone is working on. 

A lot of work was completed this week on a Conversation Planning Grant that is due on December 1. The program includes putting together an interdisciplinary team to evaluate the Museum's long-term storage capability. This week, staff worked on a preliminary building and collections assessment report and developed a project outline and abstract. Next week, prospective team members will be contacted about partnering with the museum. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Archaeology Hike

On Sunday, Chuck Bucher led museum staff on a hike to various archaeology sites on the east side of the county. At one of the sites we came across a hammer stone. It did not take long to find flakes of broken rock and a couple of very small pottery shards. This was a known area and it was good to verify that things have been left undisturbed. The museum has traditionally aided in the preservation of desert archaeology sites.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grant Seminar Begins

Today, the museum began a six week grant writing program. Jessica Brody is a visiting grant specialist who will be working at the museum for the next six weeks assisting with writing grants to aid in moving the Strategic plan forward.

Today, Dr Neal V Hitch, gave a presentation on creative staffing through program grants, and participants reviewed grants that the museum is currently working on.

Today's session was well attended with two Board members and two museum interns participating.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Informal Hiking Clubs

On Sunday, Museum staff joined Dr. Rich Ryan on a hike into Shell Canyon. Dr. Ryan has led an informal hiking club for several years. The club had its origin in BLM sponsored hikes into the desert. When the BLM program ended, a groups of "regulars" wanted to continue to experience the changing desert environment.

Dr. Ryan's groups has a goal of including younger members, people who have not been into the desert before. On this hike we were joined by three IVC college students. They were amazed at the geological formations of Shell Canyon.

The Museum would love to find a way to support and encourage these informal clubs which serve to celebrate the desert. We are not sure what role we could play, but we will continue to plan and investigate how we could be responsive to this group of stakeholders.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grant Workshop to Begin

Jessica Brody is a visiting grant specialist who will be working at the museum for the next six weeks assisting with writing grants to aid in moving the Strategic Plan forward.

Every Wednesday, from 10:00-1:00pm, Museum staff will be leading a structured seminar on various grant topics.

Every Saturday, from 10:00-1:00pm, Jessica will be leading a workshop to assist participants who will each be working on a grant.

The workshop is open to anyone interested in gaining grant writing skills. All participants will have the opportunity to work on a grant for the museum.