Friday, May 24, 2019

Confrences and Grad School

~Marcie Landeros, Museum Manager

This week David and I took a trip to New Orleans for an American Alliance of Museum's Conference. As I sat on my second plane, in Houston, Texas, getting ready to turn my phone off for takeoff, I received an email. Oklahoma University had accepted me into their Museum Studies Grad School program!

The program is online, so I will get to stay with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, while also finding out what the most cutting edge museums are doing. At the conference, I spent one day going to sessions and talking to professors working in museum studies departments. I cannot wait to start my program so I can knock the socks off of everyone when they see the cool things we are already doing at IVDM.

I spent another day focusing on the diversity of Indigenous Peoples and their inclusion and representation in museums. I am proud to say that there is a strong Indigenous voice throughout our institution. I now have some new ideas on how to continue that into our Phase 3: Geology Exhibit design. While here, we are also are checking out the latest technology in museums, getting a chance to test things out as we plan our next steps!

While David has returned home, I will be staying a few more days. I will be back next week, refreshed and full of new ideas! See you soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A New Artist in Residence!

~John Andrew Davis Hitch, Artist in Residence 

      Hi everyone! My name is Davis Hitch and I’ll be working for the next month as the artist in residence here at the museum. I'm a recent college graduate from Judson University in the Chicago Suburbs, double majoring in Biology and Biochemistry. Bringing a new perspective from the Mid-West I am an advocate for environmental work, planning on continuing my education further into conservation biology. I attended high school here in the Imperial Valley at Southwest and am familiar with the desert and all it has to offer, so much so that I've decided to join the team working on a few projects alongside the museum. I’ve lived in many crazy places; Ohio, the Caribbean, Catalina Island, Yellowstone National Park, and the Chicago area. Working a wide variety of jobs, albeit the Imperial Valley left an impression that I cannot seem to get away from no matter where I go. 

         I have prior experience working along side the previous artist in residence, Lucas, on finishing the Museum’s Observatory as well as the Kerplunk Buildings, where combined I personally laid down over two tons of cement to permanently fix these structures as a part of the museum and the desert skyline! I'm joining the team to complete the ongoing Tortoise Enclosure exhibit and I'm excited to say it’s making fast progress! I am passionate for animals, life, and the desert itself, and am looking forward to helping out! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!

~Dr. David Breeckner, Executive Director     
Greetings from Greece!

Since 2011 when I first started as a wide-eyed student volunteer, I have been working with the Priniatikos Pyrgos Project, exploring the history of an ancient settlement on the north-eastern shores of Crete, in the Greek Mediterranean.  Priniatikos Pyrgos is a multigenerational settlement, with a history of occupation and activity extending back over the last 5,000 years.

My job in all of this?  I am a ceramic archaeologist, and since 2012 I have spent my summers studying the pottery of the ancient Minoans during their Protopalatial Period (1900-1700 BCE).  There is a saying about ancient Greek pottery -- it's ubiquitous.  It's literally everywhere!

From its study, we can learn any number of things about its creators.  From a study of the types of pottery represented, we can see the sort of activities ancient peoples were doing: does the site have cooking pots?  How about storage vessels?  Any luxury goods? Was there a pottery workshop?  The physical make-up of a piece of pottery -- the minerals included in its construction -- can tell us where it was made and, if not local, who the Minoans of Priniatikos Pyrgos were trading with.  But wait, there's more!  Looking at the decorative style of pottery can even help us to understand the artistic values of these ancient peoples -- what was in vogue at the time, what was the latest decorative trend.

This year marks the last year of my research with the Project.  Together, these 7 years of study have helped us to explore and rediscover a lost people and ancient past.  It will be sad to say goodbye at the end of this week, but I'm sure to enjoy my time while it lasts and look forward to sharing that experience and knowledge in full in the later publication.  Stay tuned!