Sunday, August 17, 2014

Exhibit Opening Weekend

-Anne C. Morgan, Head Curator

This weekend marked the opening of our new traveling exhibit Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast.  Opening weekend was sponsored by Imperial Valley Aggregates and Gibson & Schaeffer Inc. - and therefore free to the public. We were thrilled that over 100 people joined us over the three day festivities to celebrate our    
largest traveling exhibit yet.

Family sees what could be found in Lake Cahuilla
Friends, family, Museum members, and first time visitors all came out to experience this new exhibit.  They enjoyed two different videos running in different locations- one that came with the exhibit on making acorn bread and the award winning First People Kumeyaay. They learned new and exciting things about grinding the all important acorn for food and roasting agave in pits.  And everyone loved the take away recipes!  Hopefully we'll hear back from people after they've made the meals to tell us how they liked it!

Kids enjoyed a new twist on our signature coiled clay program by also learning a bit about finding clay in its natural state and how the Kumeyaay ground it to create the pliable clay needed for ceramics.  There are also grinding stones in the exhibit from our education collection that can be touched and a game where kids try to think of everything they would need to make their own dinner.
Learning to grind clay

What are YOU making for dinner?

Tools for hunting on view
 With the exception of historical photographs of food preparation and hunting, jars of food provided by Exhibit Envoy, and a basket collection on loan to the museum from Johnny Eagle Spirit Elliot of Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, all artifacts on display came from the museum's collections- many never before on view to the public.  All the artifacts relate to food: hunting it, cooking it, eating it.  While learning about the importance of fishing for food our visitors can also see a map of Lake Cahuilla and learn a little more about that fascinating part of our desert landscape.  Shells from both the ocean and Lake Cahuilla are on display, as are a collection of projectile points found along the lake's shorelines.  In an area on hunting visitors can not only see knives, arrows shaft straighteners, and throwing sticks- they can also see a preview of the upcoming permanent exhibit.  A collection of projectile points takes the visitor through a journey of changing technology, changing climate, and changing game.  From mammoths to rabbits, we have taken lot of visitor feedback into consideration when designing this case.

Baskets on loan for this exhibit only

Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast will be at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum until Saturday, October 11.  If you and your family weren't able to come for the opening weekend fun, we hope you have the chance to stop by and see this once in a lifetime exhibit before it leaves the valley!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Salmon have arrived!

-Anne C. Morgan, Head Curator

Today the new travelling exhibit Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast arrived and we are very excited.  The staff will spend the next two weeks setting up and adding to this exhibit with artifacts from the Museum's collections to help tell these new stories.

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is partnering with the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in hosting the largest travelling exhibit the Museum has had to date.  The statewide exhibit from the Grace Hudson Museum and Exhibit Envoy (creators of the Gold Fever! exhibit the Museum hosted last year) features foods important in the lives of Native Californians including fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, and acorns.

Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast will be open from Saturday, August 16-Saturday, October 11.  Admission to the museum during this time will be free for Museum Members, $5 for non-Members.  Events held in conjunction with this exhibit will begin with an exhibit opening celebration on Saturday, August 16 from 2-5pm, free to the public thanks to our sponsors Imperial Valley Aggregates and Gibson & Schaefer Inc.
For more information, please go to our website or send us an email at

Curation staff opening exhibit boxes for the first time