Friday, November 9, 2018

A Museum in Motion

~Ryan McHale, Curatorial Research Fellow

This week marks my second month as the Curator at the Museum. I have learned that, like the Valley itself, the museum is in constant motion, and this past weekend highlights exactly that.  From new exhibits to community events, to public hikes, the IVDM is much more than just a building with 4 walls.

big part of my last week was focused on exhibit development.  Since the beginning, it's always been a goal of the Museum to bring the outside geology into its education space with a dedicated exhibit.  Since January -- with the help of an IID grant -- we've been doing exactly that, and I was lucky enough to be there at the finish line.  Last Friday night David (the Museum Director) and I stayed up until 2am completing the final touches.  The result was a now-complete exhibit -- Geology: the Power of the Earth!  Exhausted, we decided to get some well deserved shut eye, and were back at the museum at seven to begin setting up for our event for the day, Ocotillo Rocks! 

Bright and early in the morning the kids of the Imperial County Probation Work Service Program came out to help us prepare for the event, setting up tents and chairs and then testing out our activities and exhibits. The Imperial Valley Gem and Mineral Society installed a new, permanent display case, taught visitors how to pan for gold, sawed open geodes, and gave a lecture on the geology of the Valley.  Museum staff led geology walks and painted petrified wood with our younger visitors. In total we had 191 people attend the event! 

But wait, my busy weekend didn't end there! Sunday morning, I joined the museum on its second Lowlanders hike, which is our beginner hiking program. We went to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge and had such a great turnout! Between our first two hikes of the season we have had a total of eighty people attend, not to forget all of our four legged friends that came along too. Our leaders Alicia and Tom, both Sonny Bono rangers, did a phenomenal job and pointed out all the different species of birds in the refuge. 

I left work on Sunday ready for a day off, but also with a profound sense that I am a part of this community, of which I am grateful.  I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring!