Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cal Humanities Programs

by Jessica Brody

The County Library is participating in the California Reads! program from Cal Humanities. It's a state wide reading program that includes public interviews with the authors.

The County Library has been hosting it's Access Program for Ocotillo in the Museum every 4th Saturday of the month from 9-1pm. Last month the County Librarian encouraged everyone to read the California Reads! book Lost City Radio and this month we had a book discussion as part of the Access Program.

This week Lost City Radio author Daniel Alarcon was in El Centro. Daniel was articulate, intelligent, and interesting - all at once! It was a great start to the program. 

The CalHum team hosted a meeting for their California Story Fund while they were in town. They haven't had applications from Imperial County for a several years. I looked at the other people in the meeting and challenged them to make sure that changes next year. The Librarian looked back at me and said "I have a couple of ideas for you". 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Partnering with Film Commissioner

The Imperial Valley Film Commissioner came out to visit the museum for the first time yesterday. We will be hosting a screening of Bran Neu Dae for the Sundance Film Forward Program on May 2nd and she wanted to preview the space. She was taken with the impressive desert views and the "neat" building.

She was also interested in our vision for youth programming at the museum. We discussed a possible collaboration to increase student submissions to the  Imperial Valley Film Festival next year. We are currently developing a summer program around a concept we are calling "geoblogging" in which youth film their interactions with the desert and learn video editing - encouraging appreciation of the desert and developing 21st century skills at the same time.

Both the Commissioner and the staff are excited about the prospect of this type of programming, but we have to remember that the curation of the collections is our number one priority. Developing other programs at the same time is possible, but will take a lot of support. Another item on the long list of "things to do" is an overwhelming prospect.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

El Centro Arts Festival

The Museum hosted a coiled clay art interactive at the El Centro Arts Festival today. Kohl's sponsored our activity and provided five volunteers who worked with nearly 100 kids who visited our table during the day. 

We were excited about participating, but as we continue to build programs, it quickly becomes evident what  we do not have. We bought clay last week in San Diego and we knew tables would be provided, but about on hour after we set up at 8:30am I received a text message that said, "We are roasting out here." I went and bought a shade tent. "We need paper towels." And we needed a lot. I also bought water and some juice boxes for the staff and volunteers. But then we don't have a cooler. Its tough building programs. It is even tougher keeping up with programs that become successful so quick.

We really thank Kohl's for being such a great supporter of community activities in the Valley.

It was a really fun day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Holtville Art Classes

Yesterday, the museum visited Holtville High School and gave presentations on the coiled-clay art program to two art classes. These presentations followed from the press coverage we received on the pilot program that we completed with Southwest High School. It was a little disappointing that no one in either class had heard of the Kumeyaay before, and no one knew anything about the geoglyphs that are spread throughout our deserts. But they were interested in seeing the few artifacts that we brought and it looks like we will be completing some hands-on work with the classes in the next few weeks.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

End of the Fair

We would like to thank everyone who visited the Desert Museum's booth at the Plaza De Las Culturas at the Imperial Valley County Fair. 

Our message was "We are here! We are open! Come and see what we are doing!" 

Open Hours
As of March 1st we are open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am - 3pm. We are re-curating the collections, which is the number one priority in 2012. We would love to show you what we are doing. Visit on volunteer days every Friday to assist in the actual curation of the collections. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Countertops Installed

The conservation lab countertops have been installed and are in use. We are now able to begin our Volunteer Fridays every Friday 10am - 3pm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

At the County Fair

Since last Friday we have been working a booth at the Imperial Valley County Fair. We'd like to thank Lydia Walker for organizing the booth for us and Conveyor Group and Imperial Printers for coming through at the last minute.

Our aim is to connect with people who have been interested in what we are doing at the Museum. If you stop by the fair come and find us in the Plaza De Las Culturas.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hiking Fossil Canyon

By Susan Massey

On Saturday, a group of hikers met at the Imperial Valley Desert museum. BLM interpretive ranger Joya Szalinski explained a little about the geologic history of the Imperial Valley to us and then we left to hike Fossil Canyon. Before entering the canyon we stopped to observe a giant boulder in which we could see the strata of various layers of sediment. The strata were directly vertical rather than horizontal. Joya explained that this was clear evidence of strong seismic activity which turned the rock 90 degrees. We entered the canyon and felt overwhelmed by the towering walls on either side of us. We walked along the dry bed of the river that had formed the canyon. Growing up through the gravel were a variety of yellow, white, orange and purple wildflowers. As we got farther into the canyon, we saw many remnants of shells and one boy found a small piece of corral, a reminder that millions of years ago, the Imperial Valley was covered with water. We had a great time taking pictures of everything, including each other taking pictures!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We are Open

The Museum is now open, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00am-3:00pm. We have curation staff in the building almost everyday, but we will be staffing the front desk three days a week. Come see the new exhibit, What we are Curating Today!, tour the facility, and see the actual re-curation process in process.

Today, we had our first visitors. A couple from Jamul who are camping over the weekend new Painted Gorge. "We have been coming out to the desert every weekend since we were first married, and we have practically raised our kids out here," they said. "We are excited to see something going on at the museum."

Shell Canyon Hike

The March museum event, a Hike Though Time, was a wonderful success. We had a limit of 20 people for the BLM Ranger led hike to Shell Canyon. By early last week the RSVP was full and today we had a small crowd who anticipated the unique experience of hiking with an Interpretive Ranger. The day started with a brief overview of the hike site, then  the troop drove out and completed a two-hour trek. One participant remarked, "The size of the group was perfect, we each felt like we got a private tour as the Ranger was able to speak to us individually and answer questions we had." 

Watch for our next guided desert hike, which will be sometime this fall. These unique excursions will be very popular, so make sure you sign up early.