Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Closer to Endowment Goal 2014-2015

-from the Director

As you all know, we are in the final days of trying to reach our goal for the NEH Challenge Grant.  Our NEH "challenge" is to raise $195,000 each year over the four years of the grant.  This money goes directly into our Endowment Fund, which will support two permanent staff positions.

If you read the IVDM blog or the Society Newsletter recently, you’ll know that in the last few weeks we are just $21,000 short of that goal.  Museum Members have stepped up this week and written checks- one for $5,000 and one for $500, and today, we received a check for $750.

We are now just under $14,000 from this year’s Challenge Grant goal, ending July 31, 2015.

We’d like to thank those of you who have supported us over the years and are as eager to see the Imperial Valley Desert Museum succeed as we are.  If you haven’t yet donated towards the Endowment Fund, we urge you to do so before the end of next week - with your small gifts over the next four years we will reach our goal of having a $1 million Museum Endowment.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Name That Sheep!

-from the Curator

Our sheep statue is always a big hit with visitors.  Designed to be a photo op, he stands proud and photogenic (and carefully ignoring the mountain lion watching him!)  Our #shelfie (what else would you call a sheep selfie?) campaign remains popular. Plenty of people take their pictures with our sheep and many are kind enough to tag us on social media or email us their photos for us to post their #shelfie pictures on the Museum's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Family #shelfie
But our sheep still does not have a name! We thought someone would want to sponsor him and we'd give them the chance to name him.  But so far no sponsor, and no name. So we're starting contest for our social media friends: Name that Sheep!
From now through the end of August we'll be accepting name suggestions.  Email us, Facebook us, Tweet us, write it down at the museum- but let's #namethatsheep!

The only rules to the contest are the names must be male (he is a ram after all) and the Museum staff reserve the right to remove inappropriate names from the final contest.
Group #shelfie
The first week in September we'll compile all the suggestions and then put them up for a vote. Most popular name (determined by the number of likes on Facebook) wins and we'll change our hashtag to #(name)shelfie to be even more unique.

Spread the word- ask your friends, ask your neighbors- who is this sheep?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Campo Indian Education Center Field trip

-from the Curator

Staff member Frank Salazar, Campo, welcomes kids to museum
Yesterday we had over 30 kids ages 6-13 come out to the Museum on a field trip from the Campo Indian Education Center.  This was their first visit to the Museum and they were very excited to get to see everything.

Students explore topographic map 

The kids divided into two group. One group started the field trip with a tour of the Museum and the new exhibit.  They especially enjoyed our new topographic map projecting the history of water in the Valley, from the ocean to the filling and receding of Lake Cahuilla.
Students explore the Valley's History of Water

The second group started with our coiled clay program.  Both groups got the opportunity to do both activities. There was a lot of competition to make the best pot and plenty of kids got creative with decorations- including occasionally adding 'feet' to their bowls.
Creative bowl with carved designs and supporting 'feet'
Enjoying making clay bowls
They enjoyed exploring the museum, and we hope next time they come the weather will be cool enough that we can also go outside and explore the desert.  A great day for everyone!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2014-2015 Endowment Goal Almost Reached!

-from the Director

For several years now we've slowly been building an Endowment Fund here at the Museum.  Our goal is to be able to pay staff salaries out of the Endowment, so that we are not dependent on grants to fund our necessary positions.

Last year we won a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge grant to help us in our quest to build the Museum's Endowment Fund to over $1 million dollars.  Through this grant, over the next 5 years the NEH would match 3 to1 any funds we raised.  We've held 10 FriendRaisers in the last fiscal year and raised our goal amount of $10,000.

Through donations and hard work we have raised over $173,000 of the $195,000 needed by July 31, 2015 to make the Challenge Grant's goal and continue with the NEH program.

As of last week we were $21,000 off that number.  One generous Museum Member, on hearing this, donated $5,000 last week. Another member has pledged an additional $500.  As of today we are less than $17,000 off our target number!

As our members and supporters we are hoping that you will help us reach that $17,000 by the end of July.  Please consider donating, through our website or by mail, to the IVDM Endowment Fund.  Your generous donation will be matched 3:1 by the National Endowment of the Humanities. Our staff thanks you in advance for your help!

Checks can be written to:
Imperial Valley Desert Museum Society
P.O. Box 2455
El Centro, CA 92243

Please let us know if you have any questions, feel free to email us or call (760) 358-7016 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stories of Change- behind the YouTube video

-by the Curator

In December, we were awarded a Cal Humanities: Community Stories grant to integrate video into our permanent exhibit.  The grant has made it possible to include unseen interview footage from the over 70 hours of raw footage for the award-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary First People-Kumeyaay into our work.  Eventually some of these videos will be projected into the Lake Cahuilla Object Theater diorama in the Museum's new exhibit.  Hopefully, future grants will allow us to install projectors and computer equipment to even more seamlessly integrate the stories within the physical exhibit.

One of the main parts of the grant was that we would have 20 videos available to the public through YouTube, hosted on the Museum's website, so that even people who can't drive out to the museum can see and experience them.  We believe the videos will succeed in reaching younger audiences in particular, and teachers will be able to show the videos in their classrooms- hopefully encouraging an increased understanding, appreciation, and awareness by the students not only of Kumeyaay culture, but also the uniqueness of the Imperial Valley.

A new part of our website Kumeyaay Nation Stories of Change will not only host the videos but also provide background information on the project and, eventually, teacher resources for classrooms use.  The website will grow over the next several weeks as additional videos are posted.  But today marks the first video to go live and the official beginning of the online project.  We hope everyone gets the chance to explore this exciting and unusual series as it goes live and as new features are added over the next several weeks and months.

Click here to go straight to our YouTube channel and the first of the Kumeyaay Nation Stories of Change videos!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stucco Party: Volunteer Fun!

-by the Curator

When the mixer broke, all stucco had to be mixed by hand

Some chose to ignore the tools and dive right in
One of the projects our Artist-in-Residence has been working on this summer has been to finish stuccoing the Ocotillo Observatory.  It has proven challenging, and slow going.  To help get more done,  this Sunday a group of friends came out to the Museum to have a stucco party.  Even though the mixer broke early on and all the stucco had to be mixed by hand, everyone had a good time.  The competition to see who could become the best at stuccoing was matched only by the unintended competition of who would come away covered in the most stucco!  The Observatory is not entirely stuccoed yet- so another volunteer party may be coming soon

Lucas wins the competition for having the most stucco on him in this volunteer shelfie

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What We're Doing Today

-from the Curator

We've been working so hard lately we've forgotten to tell you what we're up to!  Besides the usual visitor tours, grant writing, and painting as we finish the new exhibit, there's plenty happening behind the scenes.

Lucas and Davis Hitch are learning to apply stucco and finishing off the Ocotillo Observatory . . . 
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it . . .
And who doesn't want to work outside in the summer. In Ocotillo.It's barely 100 with cloud cover

Marcie is learning to edit videos for our Cal Humanities Community Stories grant: The Kumeyaay Nation: Stories of Change 

Learning a new skill: video editing

We've accessioned a new collection and you know what that means- curation continues!  Are you interested in learning how to curate and seeing some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the museum run? Talk to us about volunteering!  

Curation continues!