Monday, September 28, 2015

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Star Party Fun

-Anne C. Morgan, Head Curator
Star gazers view the lunar eclipse, rising above El Centro

Last night millions of people spent the evening star gazing around the world in order to see the amazing supermoon lunar eclipse. Nearly 450 of them came out the the Desert Museum to join us for our first big event since the installation of our new permanent exhibits: a Star Gazing Party!  Sponsored by Castillo Construction,  this was our largest and most successful Star Party yet!

1st Supermoon Lunar Eclipse in 30 years
Star gazers set up lounge chairs and telescopes to get ready for the big event
People from El Centro to San Deigo, Yuma, a family of 30 people from Mira Mesa, and 20 people from Viejas came to the Museum to see the eclipse. Beforehand they heard a presentation from IVDMS Board Member Steve Benton on what an eclipse is and why they would probably see it in shades of red.  Then by 6:30 everyone was outside to watch the show! People set up lounge chairs, watched through telescopes and binoculars, and enjoyed a clear view from our little hill of what one visitor called "the most spectacular eclipse I've ever seen."
Start your cameras! The eclipse began even before the sun set, making a spectacular view

The majority of people stayed for the entire eclipse, which lasted 1 hour and 12 minutes.  Others alternated between viewing the changing eclipse and exploring the new exhibits and the gift shop.  It was the first time many families had come out to the museum, while others have been present for other Star Parties, field trips, or to volunteer. They were all excited by the new exhibits.  "This is incredible. It's like something you have to go to San Diego to see." one remarked excitedly. "I can't wait to bring the rest of my family here!"

Star gazers took advantage of outdoor areas to claim their perfect viewing spots

Museum telescopes, binoculars, and telescopes brought by attendees were set up for amazing viewing possibilities

Did you take some great photos? Post them on our FaceBook page or Tweet them to share the fun with others!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Season's First Field Trip: Imperial Valley Home School Academy

-from the Curator

Students explore the "Land of Extremes"
Today we had our first field trip of the 2015-2016 school year. 38 students and 27 parents with the Imperial Valley Home School Academy joined us for the day.  This was the first field trip for the Museum since the second round of installations for the permanent exhibit.

We were excited to see how into the exhibits everyone was- exploring our panoramic photograph projector, reading "Rock Talks" to explore what they'd see hiking, and watching an exhibit video of master potter Teresa Castro making a ceramic pot. Kids and parents all got very involved- especially making clay pots!

They were amazed when they went from making their own pots to looking at the ones in our exhibit and thinking about the time and skill needed to make the large ollas.

Getting ready for coiled clay!
We were very happy everyone was so excited to join us and to hear the kids and parents unanimously claim "This was so much fun! This was the best field trip ever!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Special Guest

-from the Curator

This afternoon the Museum had some special guests come out for a surprise visit:  Leonard Fabian and his daughter Eva. 

 Fabian, who originally found the olla now displayed in the exhibit's Adaptation Case: Water Cache, was thrilled to see the olla in its new permanent home.  "I get emotional every time I come out here" he said "but it brings back such great memories.  It looks so great there."  While Eva has grown up hearing stories about Fabian's experience finding the olla, this was her first time seeing it in person.

In 1977, Leonard Fabian discovered an archaeological site endangered by heavy off-road traffic.  He alerted the Imperial Valley College Desert Museum and the BLM and together they investigated.  The result was the first water cache documented by Imperial Valley archaeologists.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Name that Sheep! Voting this week

-from the Curator

Our bighorn sheep statue is designed to be a photo op for museum visitors.  You won't get a bighorn to pose with you in the wild (and shouldn't even try) but our sheep will pose for you all day long. He's even got his own social media hashtag #shelfie.  But we need to make that more unique and a name will make that happen!

For the entire month of August you've been sending in suggestions for the Name That Sheep contest and now it's time. From September 1-5 we will have voting online and at the museum, then on September 6 we will announce the winning name!

Not all names that were suggested made it to the final round of voting. Why? Remember way back when we started, a few of the basic rules- the names had to be for a male sheep, but also needs to work for our hashtag- which will be: # NAMEshelfie.  So names that were too long, although often very fun, wouldn't work as well here.

Each name will be posted on Facebook, where you can vote simply by "liking" the name you choose. If you come into the museum and want to add your vote, we have the names at the front desk.  Sunday morning we'll add both online and in museum votes and declare the winning name!
Get your friends and family to join in voting and let's Name That Sheep!

Names for Voting:

Bam Bam