Friday, February 24, 2012

What we are Curating Today!

After 14 months, we are planning and prepping for our initial exhibit, What we are Curating Today! walls are being constructed, frames are purchased, we still need to print some images. Over the next six months we will be re-curating the archaeology exhibit that has been in storage for decades. The exhibit will focus on the actual curation work and will rotate the actual collections that are currently in the conservation lab. We hope that the gallery will be changing often, so that you will finally be able to see the collections that have not been seen in more than 30 years. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Website Live

The new website is live!

It's a modest beginning, but just like at the museum building, every time you check back there will be new improvements...

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Timely Visitor: Jay's student

by Jessica Brody

One of Jay Von Werlhof's former students, Gordy, stopped by the museum today. Those familiar with the museum's history will know that Dr. Von Werlhof was instrumental in championing the existence of a museum to keep the Imperial Valley College's archeology collections here in the Valley.

Gordy's visit couldn't have had more perfect timing since I'd just conserved a collection of field books earlier this week. I'm pretty sure the name "Gordy" had cropped up and I teased that I'd hoped it was one of the ones I hadn't made fun of!

Some of the field books - full of very specific details and photographs - offer invaluable information on the site locations, position of the original artifacts, and a first hand account of the artifacts as they were found and in what condition. Archeology has changed a lot in the last 30 years and having this type of information is invaluable to care for the collections today.

Less professional field books were....well, frankly: less helpful. And humorously so. Before Gordy returns for his next visit to the Museum I will check the field books and make sure I know which category he falls into...!

Chuck Ayres visits Museum

Chuck Ayres, an Orange County resident, retired last Friday and set out three days ago on a cross country bike ride.  Today we saw him riding past the windows out side the museum and invited him in. Chuck was excited to learn about the Museum's history and our recent events, so we gave him a private tour.  He wanted to buy a mug, but pointed out that he would have to carry it all the way across the country.  Instead, he asked to take our pictures for his blog:

Good Luck Chuck! Track his story at:

Check out the story on Chuck's blog and send him some encouragement on his 64 day trip across America!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February is Museums Month

February is Museum Month in San Diego and with a special discount coupon from Macy's you can get into dozens of museums for half price.

Please join the Imperial Valley Desert Museum every Wednesday in February as we caravan
to San Diego to see some of the area's finest museums. 

Wednesday, February 8 -    San Diego Natural History Museum
Wednesday, February 15 -  Reuben H Fleet Science Center
Wednesday, February 22 -  Museum of Man
                                            San Diego Air and Space Museum
Wednesday, February 29 -  US Midway Museum

We have plenty of Macy's discount cards and will be leaving from the Museum at 8:30am

For more information or to RSVP please contact

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Conservation Update

Conservation starts in the archives. If you don't know where the artifacts came from they lose a lot of their meaning.

With this in mind, we've started delving through the archeologist's field books, notes, and site records to match the documents to the collections we are curating.

We also found a series of negatives documenting the work on Travertine Point in the 1960's. Photographs, slides, and negatives are most susceptible to the hot desert climate and are a top priority of our curation efforts. We found some of the images had been boiled right off the film. These several images of Travertine Point are lost, but we are left with a stark reminder of why professional conservation is important. Bringing the images into the protective museum building will stabilize the chemical interactions that cause photos to fade or, like these were, be entirely erased.

All is not lost, however, since the records exist to tell us what was on the film, we at least know what we should be seeing. There is a sense of loss that the images are gone, but the paper records remain to tell us the story of Travertine Point, what was there, and why it was important.