Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Keys found at Museum

Keys for a Toyota were found at the Museum today. If you think they may be yours, please contact the museum.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Museum Closed for Thanksgiving Holidays

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum will be closed for the Thanksgiving holidays. Happy Thanksgiving, and we'll see you next week!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Volunteer Archives Curation

After 3 years of inventorying over 23,000 artifacts, we are now searching the archives for information that will help develop the story of the collections - where they came from, how they got to the museum, and what type of information we have to share with researchers.

In pursuit of this goal, we are focusing on our Archives Project. Today, our volunteer Albert helped to kick start this endeavor, beginning with an artifact catalog of the Sun Desert Nuclear Plant Project. This project has appeared in other parts of the museum's archives, and it involved the museum's founder Jay van Werhlof.

As with the inventory of our artifacts, the museum is looking for volunteers to help us explore our paper records. This exciting project will enable us to not only to learn more about our collection, but also about the development of the museum. We are curating Thursday-Saturday from 10-3pm. Anyone interested is encouraged to call the museum at 760-358-7016 and schedule with staff. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lab Developments

One of the great tips we received from
Conservation Assessment Program assessor.
Over the past several months the Museum has received peer assessments as part of the Assessment programs we were accepted into in January. Today the staff tested one of the recommendations made by Dr. Nancy Odegaard, Arizona State Museum's Lead Conservator. 

During her visit in September, I described how we accession items into the museum - using a reversible adhesive and writing numbers to identify the objects - Nancy suggested we type the numbers rather than write them - eliminating the age old museum problem of deciphering handwriting and reading tiny little numbers. A simple but elegant solution.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friend-raisers for the Endowment

The Museum Trustees are hosting a series of "friendraiser" events to help raise money for the new endowment. We have already hosted two very successful events and we appreciate the support of our friends!

The next scheduled events will help us celebrate Archaeology Day on Oct 19th and on November 16th, the museum will transform into a Ristorante Italiano on Saturday November 16th. See the fliers below:

The fundraising goal is to raise $66,000 by the end of this year through local donations. You can give directly to the endowment by finding the "Imperial Valley Desert Museum" listed here: http://www.ivcommunityfoundation.org/how-to-give/give-online-now/  on the Imperial Valley Community Foundation's website and press "Donate".

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Off-Roading Pilot Program

In an effort explore potential outdoor programming, Museum staffers tested a small off-roading pilot program.

Taking two cars out to the Anza-Borrego State Park, they explored the potential for multiple car excursions into the desert as well as the incredible landscapes and vistas, such as a view of the Elephant Knees rock formations.

Participants were also able to enjoy hiking in the park, with views of wind caves, rock concretions, and the ancient sea bed.

For those interested in the current museum's current outdoor programming and future information on our pilot programs check out the Museum's hiking website.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Members Only Event

Through our partnership with the Kumiai Community Museum in Tecate, Mexico, we were able to offer a unique opportunity to meet and work with some of the most skilled basketry artists of the Pai Pai and Kumeyaay nations.

Two IVDM members accompanied a trustee and the Head Curator to the event where willow basket making instructions were translated step by step. "I didn't realize how much work it was going to be - I'm feeling it!" said one of our group.    

Participants were also treated with a special presentation of bird songs by Juan Meza Cuero. After lunch we explored the progress of other tables and decided that we were glad we had chosen willow baskets. Working with the junctus materials was described as "intense".

After less than an hour wait at the border, we were back in US territory and finished up the day with dinner at the newly-opened Jacumba Springs Spa & Resort.

"What a great opportunity," said of of the museum members, "I'm really glad I got to go."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Landscape Architecture Intern

Karla Benitez has come on board to begin planning the museum exterior gardens and explore possible interpretative opportunities on the museum grounds.

Karla Benitez was born and raised in Hollywood, California. While living in an apartment her whole life, she grew an interest in plants; aiding her mother in caring for an arrangement of potted flowers. Not having a yard to play in, encouraged her to shift her interest to understanding and tending to florae. Along with her love for drawing, she eventually decided she wanted to pursue a career in landscape architecture.

In 2007, after graduating from high school, Benitez attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she would spend the next five years. She was taught by professors of all backgrounds and ideologies, but who all focused on hands-on education. What she learned, was that the importance of the land is in its meaning to people. In the spring of 2012, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. Now, she hopes to work in the field with special attention to landscape preservation.

Curation Lab Assistant Intern

Stephanie Keating, who ran the Center Gallery at Middlebury’s McCullough Student Center, will be assisting in the curation lab during the next phase of the Inventory Project. Stephanie will be completing collection summaries based on our previous inventory work and organizing volunteers to inventory the archive materials. In addition to planning and designing two exhibitions for the Center Gallery, at the Center Gallery at Middlebury’s McCullough Student Center, Stephanie also aided with the design and set up of three other exhibitions at 51 Main, another of the College’s galleries. In her time running the Center Gallery, she also helped develop a better way to manage the Gallery’s resources working with the Museum of Art’s exhibition designer to improve storage and refurbish the gallery’s frames and tools. Additionally, she began to archive the Gallery’s exhibitions, photographing them for both the Gallery’s archives and the artists’ portfolios.

At the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Stephanie worked on a variety of research projects, specifically researching at least 15 objects for the museum’s forthcoming Collection Handbook and publishing entries the the Object of the Day blog. Additionally, she helped edit and proof the French translation of the exhibition catalogue House Proud for its move to the Musée de la Vie Romantique in Paris. She also worked directly with the Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design collection by photographing various works on paper as the Cooper-Hewitt began its project to digitize its collection. In assisting with this digitalization process, Stephanie also helped input over 600 of the museum’s accession cards – each containing descriptions and information from provenance to conservation efforts of the various items in the collection – into The Museum System Database Software, which helped to create an online database for the museum. Additionally, Stephanie volunteered at the Middlebury College Museum of Art where she helped give tours through the Museum Assistants Program that worked with local schools to increase students’ visual literacy through a program called Visual Thinking Strategies.

Stephanie Keating was born in the small village of Capas Tarlac in Philippines before settling with her parents in Orange, California. Growing up she developed an interest in history and art – although her interest in art was stronger in its appreciation than its creation. Spending her youth in southern California, she enjoyed visiting the various cultural institutions as well as the diverse environments from the beach to the mountains to the desert. These visits showed her the importance of connecting the public with these places. After graduating as salutatorian from her high school in Southern California, she decided attended Middlebury College in Vermont for a change of scenery and the chance to experience “real” seasons. Now back in California, Stephanie looks forward to her time at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum and learning more about the operations of the museum, particularly its innovative approaches to developing a museum in the 21st century. She hopes to eventually get a PhD in art history and curatorial studies so that she may continue to work in museums and create an engaging museum environment for 21st-century visitors.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Education Coordinator Intern

Janet is our first Education Coordinator. She will expand and formalize our educational programming within the fields of technology, archeaology, and the new California common core curriculum. Janet arrived September 6th and has hit the ground running. A recent graduate of the University of New Mexico, she holds a Bachelor’s in Anthropology with a minor in Geography. A veteran of almost twenty years as a programmer and database designer, she brings both a technical background and archaeology skills to the position. At the University of New Mexico Office of Contract Archaeology, she classified lithics and ceramics from the White Sands Missile Range dating from 400 to 700 A.D. resulting in the flotation, cleaning, labeling, and recording of this previously neglected collection. Her graduate work included a study of ground stone tools known as "manos" from various parts of the American Southwest and the relationship of mano size to the introduction of maize (corn), and she participated in a archaeological dig in San Gemini, Italy, on a bath from about 200 BC during the Roman Republic.

A native of Southern California, Janet is familiar with the environment here in the Imperial Valley. “I grew up camping here, in the San Felipe Wash and along the Pole Line Road,” explains Janet. “We would come to Anza-Borrego in the spring for the wildflowers, and in the winter the entire extended family would camp near the old Truckhaven Trail between Christmas and New Year’s. It was a great time to be a kid.” Janet’s responsibilities will be to work with educational opportunities in the fields of technology, archaeology and 21st century learning techniques.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Board Breaking

Summer Youth Programs Come to a Close

This Saturday saw the end of our Summer Youth Programs at the Desert Museum. Today was the last karate session, which has been a part of our DOVES healthy lifestyles grant. Five kids finished out the summer strong and participated in a board breaking ceremony.

It was quite and experience. Ous!

Karate a the museum this summer has been our most successful program. We had an average of thirteen participants coming every Saturday and an average of six participants who came to the Wednesday sessions.

The program serves as an introduction to the discipline required to maintain and active, healthy lifestyle, which includes a regular routine of exercise. We have two students from Ocotillo who have participated during both years. Their parents report a noticeable difference in attitude and muscle development that has come with regular participation.

The Museum would like to thank Sensei Lucas Hitch, who has been leading karate for the last two years. Lucas has developed into a fine young man and his ability and patience in working with youth is the secret behind the success of the karate program.

On Monday, Lucas, a graduate of Southwest High School, leaves for Chicago, where he will be attending the Architecture Department at Judson University.

We wish him much success. Ous!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A letter from the Curator: Curation Phase One Completed!

Sharon and Christian curating the last items
included in Phase I of the Inventory Project.
Today we curated the last artifacts that finish what we are calling Phase One of the inventory and re-curation of the IVC collections. 

I am constantly amazed by the efforts that this community has made and continues to make to preserve these collections. I get the feeling that individuals who have worked on this project feel like they aren't doing very much - just helping out. I can tell you as an outsider, the Museum's story doesn't sound like one or two people who do a little. It's a whole community doing a lot. Reaching this moment in time has taken a steady stream of individuals who have passed the torch over the years. You are all a part of that. It is a personal honor to work for a community dedicated to accomplishing what they know is right, and who gets the job done. 

Today is a day worth celebrating.

Congratulations to the whole museum community who worked so hard to get here. You did it. 


Head Curator

Curation resumes August 17th.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Madrecitas Exposicion de Pequeno Formato

On July 27, 2013 we will celebrate the first ever U.S. exhibition of Madrecitas: Exposicion de Pequeno Formato with an artist reception and a viewing of pequeno formato films.

The Madrecitas exhibition of small format art 
began five years ago in an effort to support Mexicali’s 
blossoming young artists. Based in a hallway of 
CETYS Universidad, the inaugural exhibit had 60 pieces. 
In 2013 the exhibit boasts 300 pieces from artists 
ranging from Southern California to Mexico City 
and includes 2D, 3D and video format. The exhibit represents 
the vibrant artistic community just across the border. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ocotillo Cool Center

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is the designated Cool Center for Ocotillo effective immediately.
Information: Address: 11 Frontage Road, Ocotillo, CA 92259
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-3pm, closed Sunday and Monday
Services: Chairs, A/C, water fountain.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ocotillo Summer Youth Programming

We were using the summer to focus on finishing projects like the curation of the IVC collections, but we were asked about youth programming for Ocotillo youth, so we developed a list of weekly activities starting immediately and running until August 2nd. 

Here it is!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Curation Update: The End of the Beginning

by Jessica Brody, Head Curator

I've been told that at the start of the artifact re-housing project in 2009, there was no way to quantify the number of boxes in storage. It was too daunting task to attempt. Today, in the "cooler" weather I spent the morning checking corners of the now near-empty storage. 64 boxes of artifacts remain in the temporary storage area and about others 30 brought up to the museum this week.

Completing the re-housing the artifacts isn't the end of the Inventory Project, but it marks a huge milestone in the care of the collections. Massive, really. The next phase will involve the re-organization of the files and paperwork, also in temporary storage. Anne Morgan, our visiting archivist, developed a system very similar to the volunteer curation process that we will use to create searchable database records for the documentation. As we enter information into the database, we will be able to match the records to the artifacts.

The biggest challenge in caring for this collection is the divorce of the artifacts from the records. I'd like to personally invite the community, who has worked so hard to care for these records for so long, to help us create a full, informative, researchable archive. The information we work with over the coming months will form the basis for our first permanent exhibit and educational programming. This is a very exciting time to be part of the Inventory Project.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kumeyaay College Classes

by Jessica Brody

Stan Rodriguez may be a familiar name to those interested in Kumeyaay culture. Maybe you've taken one of his classes - he always seems to be teaching. Stan graciously invited me to participate in his traditional tool making class through Kumeyaay College - Tool Time with Stan, he called it.

Every week will be a new adventure in traditional tools. Plans for the class range from building and fishing off tule boats to flinting obsidian tools. The first part of the class has been dedicated to constructing traditional houses on piece of land recently acquired as a preserve and addition to the Sycuan Reservation. The class seems to grow every week as more and more people hear stories about the work their friends are doing. With so many hands on board, it hardly seems like work.

See more classes available through Kumeyaay College on the website: http://www.kumeyaaycommunitycollege.com/

Facebook Photography Contest Winner

Congratulations to our Facebook Photography Contest winner Kim Savala. Inspired by this year's spring time cactus blooms, we hosted a competition on Facebook to find the best desert-inspired photo. Several people entered fantastic entries, but Kim's stole the hearts and 'likes' of the most Facebook friends. Check out our album on Facebook to see all entries. 

Kim's image is now hanging in the Museum lab. Come and see it in person during our exhibit closing party and Madracitas artist reception July 27th. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Over 1,000 students in 2012-13 Coiled Clay Program

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum’s signature community outreach program is a hands-on ceramic art program aimed at understanding and celebrating the unique cultural traditions of indigenous ceramic pottery production in the Imperial Valley. The Coiled Clay program was piloted by a 2011-2012 grant from the Imperial Valley Community Foundation. During the 2012-2013 school year, a second grant was used to expand the coiled clay program into the signature public program it has become.  

To create a viable engaging, hands-on activity to support existing art curriculum in the county school systems, Museum staff took artifacts and educational curriculum into classrooms where students had the opportunity to study original artifacts. The museum introduced art concepts of shape and form associated with traditional native crafts. The museum provided clay and instruction in coiled-clay techniques and students styles and techniques create ceramic art based on the styles and techniques used by the indigenous population who first lived in the Southern California deserts.

Measured outcomes were aimed to serve 12-15 home school students at one home school program and 330 art students in nine classrooms at three high schools. It was anticipated that the program would have two components, the production of 3-dimensional coiled clay ceramics and the production of 2-dimensional visual arts. Owing to the success of the pilot program last year, we also anticipated serving younger students during community programs.

Over the course of the grant program museum staff visited 12 classrooms. This included Holtville High School, Central High School, and home school programs in Holtville and El Centro. A total of 236 students were served in their classrooms.

What was unanticipated during the grant cycle was the interest and participation of home school programs. Three home school programs participated in the grant, the Freedom Academy in Holtville, the California Virtual Academy, and the Imperial Valley Home School Academy, a program of the El Centro Elementary School District. The home schools each arranged for multiple museum visits to their classrooms and two of them scheduled complimentary field trips to the museum. The extended interaction with the home school programs led to the tailoring of our grant program to meet their specific individual curriculum-based needs.

There were 1115 documented participants in the coiled clay program that the museum ran with the small grant from the Imperial Valley Community Foundation. This number is nearly three times the number of students served in 2011-2012. Of these, 268 were youth aged 14-22, the target audience of the grant. This year, we found our most receptive audience to be youth ages 7-10. Both at the museum and at public festivals the connection, attention span, and success of younger children was noted. The museum has begun to implement programs to serve younger children, but trained education staff is noticeably lacking.   
The majority of students who participate in the coil-clay program are younger children and adults. The museum has been very successful at fairs and festivals in Imperial Valley. In fact, we are often overwhelmed with the response to our hands-on coiled-clay tent. We also noted this year that a significant percentage of student who do coil clay projects at our tent during fairs and festivals are older high school students who have previously worked with our program in a classroom or at the museum. 

The product created through this program is outstanding. Students that have been coming to our programs multiple times, for more than two years, produce quality work. It is inspiring to see the level of work that can be accomplished through a successful program. Observing continued student improvement has been exciting this year. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Star-gazing IV

This Saturday the museum held it's fourth star-gazing party. Over 160 people - many of them first timers to the museum - came out to enjoy a night with the stars.  Steve, our resident astronomer, gave a brief talk and showed some wonderful pictures he's taken with his telescope.  There were four telescopes for visitors to look through set up around the museum. Many got the chance to see not only a beautiful full moon rising, but also the "Dance of the Planets" when Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appeared together after sunset.  The next "Dance" won't occur until 2021. 

One visitor enjoyed the event so much that she sent us an email: 

"My husband and I attended your function on Saturday, May 25. I had never been to your museum  . . . What an enjoyable evening! The weather was great, we ran into old friends, saw Jupiter, Mercury and Venus and an informative presentation on asteroids. Well done! I plan on bringing my grandson to your next star gazing function. Thank you!"

Thanks also to Sobe's Restaurant in El Centro for generously sponsoring this event!

People used their apps to find constellations

Steve presenting NASA's "Near Earth Objects"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Calexico Jr. High Career Fair

by Jessica Brody

Get 'em while they are young!

The Museum began its intern program before it opened in March 2012. In fact, we wouldn't have been able to open if it wasn't for the willingness of our interning professionals to put all their talent, skills, and learning into the strategic objectives of this Museum.

Today I worked a career fair at the Enrique Camarena Calexico Junior High. One day those students will be our interns. That's kind of exciting.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Museum Assessment Program (MAP) next steps

Museum Assessment Program

The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) Self Assessment was submitted yesterday to the American Alliance of Museums. Part of the MAP includes a reference bookshelf filled with titles like "Collection Management Policies" and "AAM Guide to Collections Planning". The IVDM used these resources to evaluate our processes and procedures against national museum standards.

The next step of the process is the review of our documents and procedures by a peer reviewer based out of a museum in Arizona. The reviewer will evaluate our materials based on his experience in the desert region and as the director of an accredited museum. The visit occurs in July and we warned him that every week things are changing here and we'll keep him updated as the review date draws near.

Sun Gazing

Members of Imperial Valley Home School Academy came out to the museum today to experience star gazing with our volunteer astronomer Steve. Since this was a daytime visit, they learned how to safely sun gaze with UV glasses.  Steve gave 9 students and 6 parent chaperons a talk about the sun, how far away from Earth it is, and showed some amazing pictures he took of solar flares.  Then we all headed outside to try out the special sunglasses.

"That's the coolest thing I've ever seen!" several students cheered, finding solar spots with their glasses, and then solar flares when looking through a telescope (also with a special filter).  The students, ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade, also enjoyed being the first to see our new solar panels being built by Sullivan Solar. It fit in perfectly with their lessons about alternative energy sources. Everyone enjoyed the field trip as a way of supplementing the astronomy lessons they are getting in class and are looking forward to coming out for the museum's star-gazing party Saturday May 25 for the chance to see some stars and planets.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Girl Scout Saturday

Today we hosted members of Girl Scout Troop 7106 at the museum.  They enjoyed exploring our “Gold Fever!” exhibit, since several girls are studying California’s Gold Rush in school.  When asked what they liked best in the exhibit they said it was hard to choose just one thing.  “I like the rocks and the house” one said, referring to our miner’s shack.  They enjoyed weighing dry goods (and their purses) on our scales and were amazed when they did the math on what the items would cost it 1849, and that it meant a 5 pound bag of flour would cost over $36 in 2013 dollars!

The main event for the day was making coiled clay pots.  A few of the girls had tried making pots at last year’s Children’s Fair and were eager to try it again.  While some were happy to make smaller ‘cereal bowls’ with beautiful designs, others wanted to work on making larger pots.  Everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch at our new picnic table and had a great Saturday!    

Thursday, May 9, 2013

PEO visit

The El Centro PEO group visited the IVDM as one of their bi-annual destination meetings. After the business meeting was over, staff entertained the group of 11 philanthropists with stories about the Curation process and our overwhelmingly successful programs. To demonstrate the curation process, we opened an unmarked box, which one of the attendees remembered as a private donation. Inside was an obsidian knife, two really excellent arrow straighteners, and a clovis point - one of the oldest types of projectile points that can date to 10,000 years ago. That was a surprise, as we told the group, you never know what your going to see while doing curation. 

After a long discussion about the direction of the museum and what it will take to get there, several PEO members left behind some generous donations. As we explained to the members, these donations will be used to start our new Endowment Campaign. We sincerely appreciate the PEO members for their interest in the museum and for their good company. It was a fun afternoon.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Betty Cloud honored as "Volunteer of the Year"

This is a press release issued by Rep. Vargas yesterday:

El Centro, CA (April 30, 2013) –Today, Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) delivered the “Volunteer of the Year” award to Imperial Valley resident Betty Cloud.  In honor of National Volunteer Week, Congressman Vargas acknowledged Betty Cloud for her exceptional volunteer service and countless hours serving the Imperial County and working to better the 51st Congressional District.

I just wanted to acknowledge that when I first moved to the Imperial Valley, I moved my family to Ocotillo, right across the street from Betty Cloud. She was instrumental in connecting me to Bobby Brock, who connected me to the El Centro Rotary Club and then to the first grant we received that began the coiled-clay program. Really, Betty is responsible for what has become our signature program.

What I appreciate most is that Betty opened her library to my sons, who both read countless books the summer we lived in Ocotillo.
Sometimes it is the small things that define a person.

We love Betty at the museum. We love when she stops by. We love her enthusiasm for life long-learning. She makes a difference in our lives. She make a difference at the museum.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Gold Fever!" Strikes Ocotillo! & Rotary Club Volunteer Day

Rotary volunteers and Interact members
This was a big day for the IVDM. This morning El Centro's Rotary Club and the Southwest High Interact Club spent Rotary's National Volunteer Day curating at the museum. Eusebio, who holds the museum's title for Most Artifacts Curated in One Day by One Person, challenged his Rotary peers to beat his record.
One person came close, but at the end of the day Eusebio still held the record at 181 artifacts. Over the intense cataloging session 17 people curated 348 artifacts in 3 hours. That's equivalent to a full days work by our CDAS partners. The staff sends a big thank you out to El Centro Rotary for organizing the event and helping us curate IVC's collections.

One of the 348 artifacts curated by El Centro Rotary and SW Interact Club. 

Later in the afternoon, visitors from Imperial County, Jacumba and as far as San Deigo helped us celebrate the grand opening of our first traveling exhibit. "Gold Fever! Untold Stories of California's Gold Rush". It's amazing to think that last January we just finished the curation lab and today we have a full exhibit up on the walls.

Nearly 100 people visited throughout the afternoon to eat tacos at the cart sponsored by the El Centro Rotary Club, listen to traditional cowboy music performed by El Centro's own Jugless Jug Band, and view the exhibit. Adults and children alike enjoyed testing their knowledge of the area and identifying good hiking areas our new
topographical map of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Families enjoyed our miner's cabin and trying to identify different objects in the miner's trunk a miner would have brought with him for work and for fun.The Jugless Jug Band played timeless favorites like "Buffalo Girls" and "Little Brown Jug" and quizzed the museum staff on the historical meaning of each verse to "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain".  We didn't know nearly as much as we expected we would.

This exhibit opening represents an amazing milestone for us as a fledgling museum and the IVDM staff would like to thank everyone who has helped make this museum a reality.  Thank you to all of our visitors for coming out, and we hope to see more of you soon!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ocotillo Rocks, Again!

Whew! The Ocotillo Rocks event just got over. 

We had a full building with 107 people in attendance. Joe Rodrigues from the Gem and Mineral Society gave a talk on the geology of the Imperial Valley and showed different kinds of rocks that are found here. Chuck Bucher followed up with a gave talk on how rocks were used by Native Americans in the Valley. Lots of families came and children entertained themselves at craft stations where they painted rocks and built coiled clay pots. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Map!

We have spent a long weekend gathering a new addition to our education collection. The San Diego Model Railroad Museum donated a three dimensional map that used to sit outside the museum's front entrance.  They are replacing the map with a new exhibit so plan a visit after the summer to see the new trolley!

The topographical map of San Diego and Imperial counties is 8x19 feet - massive inside our exhibit space! - so not all panels will be on display at once.  The map highlights the amazing landscape of Imperial County and we like being able to see all the places we've hiked this year. The map will be on display during Ocotillo Rocks on the 20th - see the flyer below!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coiled Clay Extravaganza

Jessica and Allison work with kids to make pots
April 6-7 our Curator, Jessica Brody and assistant Allison Brody went up to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to help with the 10th Annual Archaeology Weekend, sponsored by the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society, Anza-Borrego Foundation, and California State Parks.  Our friends at the CDAS make the drive down to Ocotillo twice a month to help the museum curate artifacts.  We were happy to give back by running the coiled clay table, something we've become known for, and join volunteers Carol Black and Astrid Webb in showing over 80 children how to make coiled clay pots.

Jessica teaches coiled clay

We also joined the activities at the Children's Fair for the second year in a row. Once again Kohl's Cares volunteers stepped up to help us work with 143 elementary and high school students to work with coiled clay.

 A good time was had by all!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Loan to Turn into Accession

The museum has past another milestone!

One of the grants programs we built this summer focused on the care of audio cassette tapes that contain oral histories told by Tom Lucas, the last Kwaaymii to learn English as a second language. The tapes include Mr. Lucas repeating what I'm told is the earliest known Kumeyaay bird song, past down to him in the early 1900's. We have had these tapes on loan for several months and yesterday the owner gifted them to the museum so we can digitize, transcribe and make accessible these irreplaceable histories.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Anza Borrego Archaeology Weekend

Hello IVDM Members and Supporters - 

Below is a schedule of events that was passed to us from our Colorado Desert Archaeological Society volunteers. The annual Archaeology Week at Anza Borrego Park is on April 6-7th next month. The Museum will be participating this year assisting with the coiled clay demonstration table and presenting "20 years of Community Stewardship: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum". 

The partnership with the CDAS group provides us with 3-4 curation volunteers twice a month and, along with our core group of 15 local volunteers, has been instrumental in helping us curate over 13,000 artifacts since April 2012. The museum staff is happy to have an opportunity to support their annual event celebrating the history of our local deserts. 

Colorado Desert Archaeology Society
10th Annual Archaeology Weekend
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center
Borrego Springs, California
                                                         April 6-7, 2013         
sponsored by the California State Parks, Anza Borrego Foundation and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society

THEME:  Stewardship . . . Caring for our Cultural Heritage

Saturday, April 6, 2013        


9 - 4:30   Silent Auction at the Begole Archaeological Research Center. Bidding closes 4:30 pm. 
  Winning bids announced 5:00 pm. (Winners need not be present)

10–4:00  Native American Basket and Pottery Display and Demonstrations.  (Craft items for sale)
9:30 - 4   Tours of the Archaeology Lab.
  Groups depart from the Visitor Center front door approximately every half hour.

10 - 4      Pottery Making Demonstration & Kids Activities - Includes clay grinding and paddle & anvil construction
               techniques. By Archaeology Volunteers Carol Black, Astrid Webb and Jessica Brody Imperial Valley Desert  
               Museum.  (Clay will be available for spectator participation)

12-1:00  Walk: Desert Drug Store.  By ABDSP Certified Interpretive Guide, Abby Barker

4- 5:30   Free Ice Cream Social:  Ice cream sundaes and announcement of silent auction winning bids at 5:00.
              Begole Archaeological Research Center, patio area.


10 – 11   The Many Faces of the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society (CDAS) in the Stewardship of Cultural   
              Resources in the California State Park’s Colorado Desert District. Carol Black, Chair CDAS & Site Steward.

11- 12    Toughing It Out at the Bailey:  The History, Conservation, Interpretation, and Continuing                                            Stewardship of the Bailey Earthen Structure.   Alan Schmidt, green builder, CDAS member, Site                                   Steward.

1 – 2      Archaeological Excavations at the Carrizo Stage Station; Uncovering the Heritage of the Southern                 Overland Trail: Stewardship means Understanding and Interpretation.  Sue Wade, Associate State                               Archeologist, Colorado Desert District.

2 – 3      Interpretation and Building the Base for Public Education: Interpretation Plays a Role in                                            Stewardship.  Roger Riolo, Anza Borrego Institute, Principal of InterpTrain, Inc.

3 – 4      Site Stewardship Forum:  Protecting and Preserving Significant Cultural Resources through a Site 
              Stewardship Monitoring Program.  By Archaeologist, Bonnie Bruce - Site Stewardship Coordinator for the   
              Colorado Desert District and a panel of Site Steward Volunteers.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


9 – 12      Native American Basket and Pottery Display and Demonstrations.  (Craft items for sale)

9:30 -12   Tours of the Archaeology Lab.
               Groups depart Visitor Center front door approximately every half hour    

10 - 12     Pottery Making Demonstration - Includes clay grinding and paddle & anvil construction techniques.
               By: Archaeology Volunteer Carol Black.  (Clay will be available for spectator participation)


10-11     Twenty Years of Community Stewardship:  The Imperial Valley Desert Museum.
               Jessica Brody, Assistant Director, Imperial Valley Desert Museum, Ocotillo, California.

11-12      From a Ranger’s Point of View:  Working Together Towards Stewardship of ABDSP Cultural                                      Resources.  Ranger Steve Bier, Colorado Desert District.

Field Trips                                

1- 5:00    Hike to the Carrizo Stage Station: Join State Park Archaeologist, Sue Wade, for an adventurous hike to the site  
               of the historic Carrizo Stage Station, an Isolated Frontier Outpost in the Colorado Desert. Carrizo functioned as a  
               military supply depot and water stop during the mass emigrations and military expeditions of the late 1840s, was  
               the site of the first reliable water stop west of the Colorado River for the First Transcontinental Mail Link (the San  
               Antonio & San Diego Mail) and the Butterfield Mail, and was a supply stop for the California Column during the  
               Civil War, and continued as a way stop for cattle drives into the late nineteenth century.  The site was investigated  
               by California State Parks archaeologists in 2000 and is the subject of the newly published California State Parks  
               Publications in Cultural Heritage, Volume 29. The hikers will be the first visitor group to see the newly placed 
               replication of the stage station adobe walls on the exact footprint of the original station as revealed during the  
               2000 excavations. (2.5 hour interpretive field program)

              For both of these field trips, you can car pool from the back parking lot of the Visitor Center at 1:00 PM or  
               you may meet at the equestrian parking area on Hwy S-2 near mile marker #34 at 2:00 PM.
1- 4:00    Hike to the Bailey Cabin in the Hawi-Vallecito Cultural Preserve: Take a guided stroll back to the romantic,
               but rugged, era of Borrego beginnings. Take away the cows and the cowboys and you have the Vallecito Ranch,  
               as it remains today. This trip will put you in touch with its past. It is a little visited, beautiful piece of recently
               acquired park land with a long history of human habitation.  Your destination is the Olin Bailey Cabin for a close
               up view of unique puddle adobe construction. Mr. Bailey used several different techniques and local materials in
               erecting his sturdy desert home. The three mile round trip takes you through the north eastern portion of the Hawi
               Vallecito Cultural Preserve. Along the way you will pass what was once a productive melon field, some cow bird
               traps, beautiful old mesquite groves, and a lonely standing corral; complete with an intact loading chute. Enjoy the
               sights, sounds, smells, and stories of this place with a magical past with your host and guide CDAS volunteer,
               Alan Schmidt. (2 hour interpretive field program)     
             Pre-registration and $5.00 fee required for both the Carrizo Stage Station & Bailey Cabin field trips.   For detailed  
             information and reservations call ABF at 760/767-4063. During Archaeology Weekend: Check for last-minute field trip
             openings at the ABF table in front of the Visitor's Center.  Wear hiking shoes and bring hat and water.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gourd Art Class

Gourd art made by today's class
Today we had 18 people come to attend a class on making gourd art, taught by the amazing artist Gloria Crane.  Gloria talked about the different ways to use and decorate gourds and then the class got down to business.

Painting gourds and learning to stitch colored string, beads, and silver ornaments into their designs took the class all day, but everyone agreed it was well worth it!

"I learned a lot about art and about myself" one student told Gloria.  Thanks to Museum Board member and volunteer Greg Curran, who set up the event with Gloria, and organized and advertised the class.

Today's artists with their gourds

Gloria Crane is a professional artist who brought several of her pieces as inspiration for the class today. We were lucky enough to have her agree to leave some of her gourds and platters for us to sell on consignment in the Museum gift shop.  

Gloria's consignment pieces