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:  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.