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.