Monday, April 21, 2014

April 19 Reception

Exhibit Design Drawing

This Saturday the Imperial Valley Desert Museum hosted a reception to officially reveal our exhibit design drawings for our upcoming permanent exhibit (coming Spring 2015).  We also announced that we are now approved to be a federal curation facility.  This means that we can now accept the artifacts collected during the development of energy projects in Imperial Valley.

158 people came out for the reception and enjoyed the chance to see the design plans for the new exhibit. Additionally, several arrow shaft straighteners from the Hammond-Butts collection were on display as a sample of the artifacts that will be in the permanent exhibit- shown together for the first time to the public.

We were honored to have bird singers from the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation come out and bless the museum through song and dance. We finished the evening by screening the new documentary First People Kumeyaay- winner of the 2014 Borrego Springs Film Festival "People's Choice" award.  This documentary describes the rich culture and heritage of the Kumeyaay people.  At just under an hour in length, over 70 hours of oral history were filmed for the video. When the permanent exhibit is up, we anticipate that some of this additional footage will be included in the exhibit. We appreciate everyone for coming out and we really appreciate the support of both our members and friends. This will be a big year for the museum. We are very excited about what is coming...
Manzanita Bird Singers

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coiled Clay Festivals (part 2)

This Saturday an Earth Day Fair was held at the 6th Street Community Garden in El Centro.  We were there with our coiled clay booth and were joined by 47 kids interested in making pots.  We recognized people from the Calexico fair a few weeks ago who wanted to work on their technique and make a new pot because they found such great use for the last one they made.  A lot of adults and high school students were as interested in making pots as their younger siblings and children.  They were interested in learning about the coiled clay method and some of the history behind it and we enjoyed sharing it with them.  Special thanks to our volunteer Tracie for coming out and helping us!

We have one more fair scheduled for the month of April. If you haven't made it to our booth before, or did and want to come back, look for us Saturday, April 26 from 10-4 at the El Centro Children's Fair! We'll have volunteers from the Kohl's Cares program helping us  and would love for you to stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Exciting meeting today!

Today we had the pleasure of talking with Jim Butts and his sister Merilyn Hammond, who donated several artifacts, in 2006, that their parents had collected in the 1960s. Many of the artifacts had come from an area where their grandfather owned a cabin, and where they spent the summer as very young children. Today, they joined us to talk about some of the artifacts in their collection.

Over the last several months we have been working with Weldon Exhibits on our permanent exhibit and finding out just how much information we don't have about many of the artifacts in our collection.  Many of the artifacts that were donated to the college decades ago came without any records of where they were found or when they were found. These details are always essential for understanding artifacts and the stories they can tell us.

As we try and piece together information about the archaeological collection that is now under our care, we have been combing through records to find clues. In the last few weeks we have found several original files on one of the ollas we are highlighting in the permanent exhibit. Today, it was an oral history that we are relying on.  In the two hours Jim and Merilyn were at the museum, they were able to tell us where over half of the artifacts in their fathers's collection came from. The information we have been able to add to our records today is invaluable for our collections and our research.

The timing of this visit couldn't have been more perfect as we are really trying to puzzle together information on many of the collections. We want to thank Jim and Merilyn for taking the time to give us their information. Jim drove out from Salt Lake City for this meeting!

We are happy to have been able to connect with them and can't thank Jim and Merilyn enough for today. We are excited that they are happy with the plans we have for the museum and that that their parent's collection will now be permanently preserved.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coiled Clay Festivals (part 1)

We participated in two big festivals this week: the El Centro Elementary School District Arts Festival and the Calexico Children's Arts Festival.  A total of 169 children participated in our signature coiled clay event at these festivals, learning to make coiled clay pots or working on perfecting techniques they've learned from us at other events.

We would especially like to thank our wonderful volunteers Lauryl and Maria. They answered the call for volunteers and made the Calexico Children's Art Festival much easier and much more fun than last year.

This year we don't have funding for our coiled clay program, which means we can't afford to pay all of our staff to be at these events.  Having volunteers help out not only helps our budget, it makes for a lot of fun too!

If you missed these two events, don't worry! We'll be at two more festivals in April: the El Centro Earth Day Festival Saturday April 12 from 9am-2pm at the 6th Street Community Garden (6th St and Ross) and the El Centro Children's Fair Saturday April 26 from 10am-4pm at Bucklin Park.  Join us for some coiled clay fun!