Friday, September 28, 2012

Creating Cultural Dialogue through Film

Earlier this year the Imperial County Film Commissioner's Office brought the Sundance Institute's Film Forward Program to the Valley. We participated in a continuation of that program through a Google Hangout today. 

Last Saturday we screened "Somewhere Between" a film about several young woman who were adopted from China into American families and their struggle for identity. This morning, we joined participants from across the country and internationally to compare and discuss the reaction of our communities with each other and the film's director. The IVC students who participated here at the museum were very interested in the discussion about whether identity is found inside or out with the Arizona State University group, a group which included an adopted student who was born in China and who was willing to share her experiences. 

After the discussion digitally concluded, we screened the film a second time and the lively conversation continued into the afternoon. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

3,000 artifacts in one day - well, almost.

Twenty-four volunteers helped curate 1,900 artifacts.

Saturday was an exciting day at the Desert Museum, exciting for museum curators anyway. The museum held a 14-hour, 3,000 Artifacts in a Day event. Twenty four volunteers made good headway toward the ambitious goal, contributing over a hundred hours combined.  People actually started working around 9:00am and came throughout the day. Even at the end of the day, a group of IVC students arrived at 8:00pm and worked through the night.  
“Normally our volunteers complete 600 artifacts in a week, so trying to re-curate 3,000 in one day was a pretty large goal.” admitted Jessica Brody, a curator at the museum. In the end about 1,900 artifacts were moved from temporary storage into permanent storage. The re-curation of the of the IVC archaeological collection has been the main work of the museum this year.
IVC students curated through the night.
 “I had to put in my time to help the museum,” said Eusebio Arballo, an El Centro resident.  “I intended to volunteer from 10am – 2pm, but I saw a sign on the wall saying that one person had curated 161 artifacts.” Trying to beat that number, Eusebio worked well into the evening establishing a new personal best at the museum with 181 artifacts re-curated.
Some of the archaeologists who originally collected the artifacts were on hand to talk about the significance of the collections and their experience in the field. Volunteers were also invited on tours of the collection rooms, where they received a behind the scenes look at the process of starting a new museum.

At the very end of the evening, the museum screened the movie “Somewhere Between” as part of the Sundance Film Forward program.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Volunteer Profile: Carline

Carline is one of our weekly curators at the museum, but sadly cannot attend our massive curation day on Saturday due to a prior commitment.

Today she turned up unexpectedly at the museum to see what she could do to help prepare for the event. This was great news! I thought the set up would take days, but suddenly it's all nearly finished. A little help goes a long way. Thank's Carline!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Developing an On-site Intern Program

One of the most important aspects of an on-site intern program is the quality of the housing. A happily housed intern can focus more on using the career opportunity afforded to them than one that has to worry about the state of his or her basic needs.

Bob Diaz, store manager at the El Centro Sears has arranged for the donation of two mattresses to support the Museum's on-site intern program. This is no small thing. The Museum strives to create a professional environment and empower its interns to focus their efforts toward developing their skills as emerging professionals. We thank Bob Diaz and museum supporter Betty for their efforts and support of the museum and its programming.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Intern Profile: Anne

Anne is completing a 3 month project to survey the museum archive and establish system by which the papers are digitally linked to the artifact collection through the Past Perfect database. In her most recent position at the Huntington Public Library on Long Island, NY, Anne completed a preservation report on the condition of 500 books from the Mary Talmage Local History collection, a collection dating back to the 1600's.

For the New England Conservatory in Boston, she improved the accessibility of the Jordan Hall archive collection. This collection of fragile pamphlets dating from 1903 to 1956 features the musical performances of college and professional groups and lecture series on topics ranging from why women should vote to the "latest" scientific health trends. The most interesting aspect of the programs, says Anne, are the advertisements. The content of the ads changed from war time provisions to funeral parlors during the influenza epidemic. Anne re-housed, preformed preservation cleaning, and developed a database to make the contents digitally searchable. For the first time in decades the programs can actually be used as a research tool.

Anne received her Masters in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives from Simmons College in Boston. She received a BA in Ancient History magna cum laude from Lake Forest College in Illinois and in New Orleans, where she is originally from, Anne lead education programs geared toward instilling a love of volunteering in 9-12 year olds through the LA/SPCA's Care Cadet Program. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On Saturday the Museum hung six oil pastels completed by students from the Southwest High School SAVAPA arts program. The still-life artwork was completed last year based on ollas in the Museum's collection. This is third time the museum has exhibited these pieces, which were also on display for several weeks at the museum over this past summer.
It is exciting to see the work hung, especially when it is in support of other non-profits and their efforts. Though this was a one day exhibit, the Starts with Arts organization raised $3,600.00 to provide art supplies to the El Centro elementary school district.
Good job Starts with Arts!