Monthly Archives: April 2020

History in the Making; Your Museum in a Pandemic

Stay at home, flatten the curve, social distancing . . . We are experiencing a world unlike which our society has ever seen. Through history, there has been an ongoing battle with virus’s and bacterium, but not since the influenza pandemic starting in 1918, has the world been so greatly affected by a quickly spreading pandemic, and the reactions from all levels of government, and personal beliefs that comes with uncertain times. Through confusion, fright, and loneliness, people are struggling to do their part, stay at home, and watching news feeds and social media anxiously to follow the impact on the world we have temporarily left behind in an attempt to do our part to protect our at risk populations. Through much contemplation and a concern for our staff and visitors, MCARLM made the tough decision to shut the museum doors, and cancel programming through the crisis.

PROGRAMMING CANCELLATIONS AND MCARLM RESPONSES

Over the years, MCARLM has focused our core mission on educational programming. From our school tours, Intern program, and adult lectures, the museum has provided educational opportunities to thousands of community and visitors annually. With a downgrading in social studies lessons in the classroom, MCARLM has used our school tours and 4th Grade History Jamboree to fill a bit of that void. Typically in a 3 month period, the museum hosts over 1500 students to a hands-on-history experience. With the school’s shutting down, the school tour season has been cancelled for this year.

In response to the student shelter in place, with so many children distance learning from seclusion at home, and so many parents struggling to figure out how to make this happen, MCARLM is trying to do our part to help. Utilizing

Hands-on History Activity Pack for a boy

the educational resources that we have at the museum, we created an At Home Hands-on History Activity Pack. This pack contains a 32 page history activities booklet, 3 individual crafts, a traditional Ohlone Native American game for the family, and all of the supplies needed to be creative and utilize the pack, with an sweet treat of a candy stick. The packs have been provided, free of any charge, to area children, since March 23. Over the past month, (as of publication of this newsletter), MCARLM has provided this pack to 520 area youth, through doorstep delivery by MCARLM staff. An additional 45 youth have been provided the activity book by mail to areas all over the state, including Sacramento, and as far as the Winterhaven, in the southern part of the state. This project has been a ongoing labor of love, with the MCARLM staff working daily, at home, to continue creating and compiling these packets, in an attempt to remain relevant and to continue our mission of providing educational experiences, even if it is from afar.

Starting in 2012, with our Lost Towns lecture, MCARLM has provided an annual adult education lecture series. This years lecture was planned for April 2, on the topic of the artist, Jo Mora, locally know for creating the beautiful sculptures that are a part of the historic Robert Stanton Theater, presented by Peter Hiller, the curator of the Jo Mora Trust Collection. Due to the shelter in place and social distancing mandates, the presentation had to be postponed until further notice. In response to the loss of this educational entertainment MCARLM staff worked with Peter Hiller, and a local video editor to create a YouTube channel and a video presentation on Jo Mora for people to enjoy at home. With over 650 views to date, this informative video presentation provides almost an hour of entertainment to distract you for a short period of time during your shelter in place. Grab a glass of your favorite beverage, and favorite snack and check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJwB4e0fqV0. We are currently working on more virtual tours to bring the museum to your living room., so follow our channel and let us know what you would like to see.

With the ending of the school year, and the closing of the museum, the staff has also lost their abilities to work over the past many weeks. In trying to help the staff, the MCARLM board voted to continue to provide pay for the scheduled shifts as long as possible within budget viability. The ability to do that is greatly in part to the foundations that generously supported the museum in the winter grant cycle.

MOVING FORWARD

The future remains uncertain for everyone. When will we be able to go back to business as usual, and really, what will business as usual look like? With the rising need from lost business there is now and will be a growing need in all sectors of personal and business life. Traditionally, non-profits struggle in times of uncertainty, and have the most difficult recovery time, relying on donations from businesses, supporters, and grantors that need healthy portfolios to determine the amount of generosity they can provide.  Like so many, we are looking forward to a time when we can get back providing a variety of programming, outreach, and having our doors open to the public so that we can continue teaching the community, youth, and visitors about the rich heritage of the Salinas Valley. We hope that when your life is back in full swing, you will join your museum in our mission and future goals. In the meanwhile, continue to wash up and stay safe.

Categories: Children Programming, Community, Events, History, MCARLM, Museum, Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MCARLM COVID-19 Response

The Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum cares deeply for our staff, docents, members, visitors, and area youth. If we have learned anything from the years of cultivating the rich heritage of the Salinas Valley, it is that together we are resilient and will persevere. During this time we have, as many have, made the hard decision to close our museum doors until we come through this crisis, and do our part to flatten the curve. This does not mean that we have stopped serving the community to the best of our ability. We have just had to re-imagine what the means, and what we can do. Here are a few options we are providing at this time:

At Home Hands-on History Packs: With the schools closing and thousands of children being confined to their homes for the next couple of months, we have responded to create and supply, free of charge, an activity package for children 7-12 that includes 3 crafts (and all needed supplies), 1 Native American family game, and a 32 page activity booklet, (created to provide a small amount of the educational experience a child would receive with a visit to the museum), and an old fashioned stick candy. While getting supplies at this time have proven difficult, we intend to continue to provide this pack as long as the need continues and the supplies last.

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Hands-on History Activity Pack for a boy

-Virtual Lecture: Originally planned as a part of MCARLM’s annual history lecture series, the program on Jo Mora by Peter Hiller had to be cancelled and re-imagined due to the shelter in place ordered due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Thank you to Peter Hiller for suggesting and putting together the content of this presentation, and thank you to Nick Potts for creating and editing this video. This virtual presentation can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your home, at your leisure. https://youtu.be/hJwB4e0fqV0

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our school tours (for the Spring Season), 4th Grade History Jamboree, Lecture, and Kids Day at the Museum. As the situation progresses, the MCARLM board will continue to analyse our responses and the community need. Please reach out to us with any thoughts, ideas, needs or suggestions. We greatly appreciate the years of support from our community, and look forward to many more years of making history with you!

Categories: Children Programming, Community, History, MCARLM, Museum, Projects | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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