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
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.
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.