From the Vault: Twenty Years. The Big 2-0!

Saturday, April 12, 1997, Turtle Bay Exploration Park (Then Turtle Bay Museums and Arboretum on the River) opened its first new, post-merger attraction, Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp. The free event launched the beginning of the Turtle Bay build out and was the first public physical manifestation of the hard work of The Forest Museum, founded 14 years earlier. The camp also provided a gateway for public access to the Interpretive Forest planted in 1992/1993.

The Forest Camp on Kool April Nites weekend in 1997

It was a wild day. We estimated that about 5,000 people streamed across the little boardwalk and through the gate in the hours after Paul Bunyan himself (okay, honestly, it was a really tall actor) cut the ribbon. Those first guests walked into a carnival atmosphere. Paul’s famous companion, Babe the Blue Ox, was on site in a big red corral. The Dolbeer Steam Donkey was up and running under the tender care of John Nicoles and Jerry Harmon, who still work with demonstrating two person chainsaws for curious kids. Every available space had an activity set up, and there was plenty of food.

Ribbon Cutting April 12, 1997
Jerry Harmon fires up the Dolbeer Steam Donkey April 12, 1997
Turtle Bay’s first Curator of Forestry, the former Forest Director, Linda Ragsdale, on opening day

Babe the Blue Ox and our popular Tree Cookie activity on opening day.

It was my 13th day on the Turtle Bay staff. I’d been recruited straight out of grad school to help the Curator of Forestry, Linda Ragsdale, and the Forestry Educator, Jeanne Tomascheski, run the brand new Forest Camp. Almost the entire Turtle Bay staff turned out that day to put on the event, even people whose focus was on our other sites, the Redding Museum of Art and History, Carter House Natural Science Museum, and the Redding Arboretum.

Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp has changed quite a bit. In 1999, we opened the Butterfly House in the Interpretive Forest. In 2000, we moved the camp’s entrance when we opened the Visitor Center – soon to be the Mosaic Restaurant. The animal program re-located from Carter House to the camp in 2002. We started adding animal habitats to the Interpretive Forest five years ago and launched Wildlife Woods.

The original playground and the water area on opening day – before the shade canopy.

Improvements continue. The amphitheater has undergone extensive renovations twice and is getting more shade sails as I type. Over the years, we’ve rebuilt and refurbished the playground until parts were so worn that they had to be removed entirely as part of the extensive renewal project that is taking place in tandem with hotel construction. We are very excited about the new entertaining and educational experiences families will have in the modernized and expanded play area. The first kids to run through the front gate are adults now, and many of them bring their children to Turtle Bay.

It has been an eventful 20 years, both for Turtle Bay and for me. In 2002, I was promoted to Collections Manager and moved out of my Mill Building office and over to the museum’s Collections Facility. In 2007, I relocated to an office in the Museum and took over curatorial duties. When I walk around Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp, the biggest shock for me is the Interpretive Forest. Steady growth sneaks up on you. While gathering images for this blog, I looked at pictures of the trees in 1997 when I began taking kids on tours. Some of the taller trees topped 15 feet, but not many. Today, the Interpretive Forest is visible from a distance!

The Interpretive Forest in December 1998 as we were surveying for the Butterfly House.

Who knows what the future holds, but here is to twenty more successful years!

 

The Vault is Always Open,

The Curatrix

 

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Turtles Teach: Springtime Science!

The weather is warming up, the sun is starting to shine (sometimes) and flowers are starting to bloom! All of this makes a wonderful combination to do some science! In this project we’re going to create rainbow flowers.

White flowers Supplies

What you’ll need:

  • white flowers, like carnations
  • small jars
  • water
  • food coloring
  • paring knife or scissors
  • tape
  • adult assistance or supervision

Step One: Trim the Stems

Trim the stemsCut the stems of the flowers so they are 10-12 inches long. (Have an adult help!) Using a sharp knife carefully cut a 6 inch slit through the bottom of the stem. Remove any large leaves. Be sure to keep the cut edges moist since exposure to oxygen will make the flowers wilt at a faster rate.

Step Two: Add Dye

DyeFill your jars with water and add between 10-20 drops of food color (or more depending on your preference). Place each separate stem end into a cup of colored water. Prop up the flowers so they don’t fall over. We had some fancy mason jar covers, but tape should work as well to help prop the flowers.

Step Three: The Waiting Game

Waiting gamePlace the jars by a window and hopefully you will begin to see the first hints of color after a few hours, but wait 24 hours to see an even more dramatic change.


What’s Happening?

Flowers go through a process called transpiration, where it releases moisture into the atmosphere. As moisture is released, more water is pulled up through tiny tubes in the stem called xylem. Water molecules have the tendency to stick together, so as one water molecules leaves the flower, it brings another one up with it.

 

Did you like this activity? Then you might be interested in our single-day Spring Break Camp!

Turtle Bay will be offering single day camps April 11th – 13th for children 7-10. Campers can register for one, two, or all three days. Each day will be different from the next as we cover matter, energy, and forces. All camps will feature hands-on and self-led activities that encourage collaboration and innovation.

Tuesday, April 11th – Magnificent Matter

With all things hot and cold, campers will discover the states of matter and how they’re important to us. Some activities include changing milk into one of our favorite desserts to stacking liquids on top of each other!

Wednesday, April 12th – Energy in Action

Campers will explore the sights, sounds, and properties of energy in many forms. From discovering the power from the sun to watching the effects of sounds, we will be learning all about the power or power!

Thursday, April 13th – Fantastic Forces

Though our superhero forces may be lacking, there are still many super forces to be explored! Campers will check out the unseen forces of our Sundial Bridge and see if they can explain the mystery behind magnets.

Whether you have enrolled into one of our camp programs before, or if this is your first time hearing about them, we invite you to check us out! For additional information and registration forms, visit www.turtlebay.org/learn/camps. We have a limited space, so hurry!

 

From our science journals to yours,

The Education Team at Turtle Bay

From the Vault: Water, water everywhere!

California residents know that when it comes to precipitation, it is often a matter of feast or famine. Currently, Redding is experiencing the feast after a relatively dry spell. We wanted the drought to end but not, you know, all at once! At 79,000 cubic feet per second, releases from Keswick Dam are the highest they have been since the El Niño/La Niña cycle of 1997-98. Heavy rains have flooded valley towns and aging infrastructure is threatened. We are, however, lucky this isn’t 1862. In that year flooding was terrible. A United States Geological Survey paper confirms newspaper accounts that the Sacramento Valley was a 350-mile long, 20-30-mile wide lake!

Here at Turtle Bay, we are perfectly poised to watch the Sacramento River as it rises and falls with each controlled change in the release level and with every rainstorm. The plaza under the Sundial Bridge is underwater, but that has happened a few times since it was completed in 2004.

March 21, 2011
February 13, 2017. The sign you can see in the 2011 photo is completely under water in the 2017 image.

The Turtle Pond on the trail on the north side of river is currently part of the river and last week the river began flowing over the south trail for the first time since it was paved, filling the wetlands behind the museum.

The South Trail was impassable on February 14, 2017

Before Shasta Dam, this area flooded regularly. One of the dam’s primary purposes is to control those floods. The flood of 1906 washed out the old Freebridge, south of the current Cypress Street Bridge. It was rebuilt and then damaged again the following year. Floods in 1909 and 1913 affected the roads and rail lines. High river flows in 1915 threatened to take out the Diestelhorst Bridge while it was under construction.

1913
Looking upstream in 1913.
Diestelhorst
The Diestelhorst in February of 1915.
washout
Rail line washout. This happened more than once before the dam was built.

While Shasta Dam was being built, Redding experienced its last major flood, the devastating Flood of 1940. On February 28, 1940 the city was cut off by the floodwaters. The storms that month caused the river to peak at more than 185,000 cubic feet per second at the dam site. In his 1997 article for the Covered Wagon, engineer Clair Hill cites a 189,000 cfs maximum flow. Hill also noted that he remembers driving south to Sacramento through water two feet deep on Highway 99. On February 29, 1940, the Oakland Tribune reported that the river was up to six miles wide in some places near Redding. I have heard anecdotal reports that the water crossed the buffer of floodplain farmland and reached the downtown Safeway on Cypress and Market streets.

gravel plant
A rare color slide of the gravel plant at Turtle Bay during the Flood of ‘40
Redding neighborhood
A color slide of a Redding neighborhood during the Flood of ‘40

The east abutment of the old Free Bridge washed away, the abutments of North Market Street Bridge were damaged, and both ends of the Diestelhorst Bridge were under water, effectively cutting off vehicle traffic both north and east. The new rail trestle over the river was badly damaged as well.

In a 1994 Covered Wagon article, John Fitzpatrick recounts pushing a “borrowed” flat car of dairy products north across the trestle to replenish communities, such as Buckeye, that were completely cut off from the food supply. Sadly, that car was also used to ferry back the body of 19-year-old Irene Clement who had drowned in Salt Creek as the result of a car accident. Fitzpatrick reports that on the return trip, the trestle began to buckle as one of the supports gave way. They abandoned the flat car and carried Irene back to Redding.

diestelhorst
The Diestelhorst Auto Camp was destroyed in the Flood of ’40.

As we know from this February, Shasta Dam only controls river flooding; it does not prevent it entirely. Nor does it prevent downstream flooding from heavy rains or localized flash flooding. River flooding severe enough to make news across the state has occurred many times since 1940. For example, the San Bernardino County Sun reported a 70,000 cfs release in January of 1953 that flooded homes, ruined a new dance hall, and flooded the Riverview golf course. In February of 1970, the Red Bluff Daily News announced that 14 northern counties, including Shasta, were to receive Federal Disaster Relief funds as a result of heavy flooding. The El Niño of 1983 brought February flash floods and high releases, as reported in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

What’s the moral of this story? Pay attention to the weather because Mother Nature bats cleanup and chin up, it could be 1862!

The New Bee Exhibit

To update the blog from last year, I will show how the beehive exhibit finally turned out.

Dr. R. Boyd fabricated the wooden case of the Kiosk. The challenge was to fit in the electronics, get the Kiosk to look nice, tamperproof the Kiosk, and have everything work:

q1

We screwed the Kiosk onto the side of the current Beehive exhibit. It has a leg (visible at lower left) to add more support and stability. In the picture I am tightening the bolts that hold the Kiosk.

q2

As can be seen above, the Kiosk is nearly self contained. It holds the computers to run the monitors, the wires to connect the computers to the monitors, and the wires to connect trackpads to the computers. We have those zipties to make all of those wires neater.

There is even a powerstrip to provide electricity. The only input it needs is electricity for that powerstrip!

When it was finally installed, it turned out great!

q3

The Kiosk feels like an integral part of the original exhibit due to its colors and the use of repurposed wood. It also provides access to a plethora of information for everyone, regardless of prior knowledge.

The Kiosk contains 232 slides about the bees and allows the visitor to explore topics from a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced. It delves into the properties of a beehive, like the one at Turtle Bay, and how to make sense of what you see in the hive and beecam.

Speaking of the beecam, it turned out to be a wild success!

 

It was no problem to weld it together, and it provides a beautiful view of the entrance.

(This photo is not from the Beecam, but is similar to what it would show)
(This photo is not from the Beecam, but is similar to what it would show)

The beecam view is routed into this wall monitor:

q7

It makes plainly visible the exterior beehive entrance from within the warm and cozy museum, even on cold and rainy days.
In the spring the hive will be renewed and there will be plenty to see and explore!

From the Vault: West Coast Biennial

West Coast Biennial is BACK! This year marks the fourth Biennial at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. This art competition and exhibition is the brainchild of Mary and John Harper. Mary is our former Education Manager and John, a long time instructor at Shasta College, is a former Curator of Art at the Redding Museum of Art and History. They wanted to restart a tradition and oh boy did they!

2011 West Coast Biennial
2011 West Coast Biennial

The Redding Museum held an annual art competition and exhibition associated with the Art and Craft Faire for many years. The move to the new museum building in 2002 put that contest on hold until we could figure out a way to organize it in the new space. Mary formed The Friends of the Arts at Turtle Bay from the existing Arts Council and set about turning this dream into a reality. We had a small “logistics” run with the Find Your Walden in Redding photo contest in 2010.

2011 Best in Show – James Allison’s Cable Mechanics
2011 Best in Show – James Allison’s Cable Mechanics

The contest and exhibition are biennial, meaning they happen every other year. Artists must be from California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska and pieces must have been made in the previous three years and can’t have been previously shown at Turtle Bay. It is juried by a new outside juror each time. Past jurors include Santa Rosa-based artist, instructor, and curator Bob Nugent; the Crocker Museum’s Associate Director and Chief Curator, Scott Shields; the Portland Art Museum’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art, Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson; and this year’s juror Michael Duncan, an art critic and independent curator based in Los Angeles.

2013 Best in Show – Jim Gilmore with his piece Paoha
2013 Best in Show – Jim Gilmore with his piece Paoha

Jurors choose the entries that will be included in the exhibition from digital images. All of the artist information is withheld during this process to prevent prejudice. The juror then visits Turtle Bay and sees the chosen pieces in person to determine the prizewinners and to give a juror’s talk open to the public for free. Michael Duncan spoke on the Bay Area artist Bruce Conner. You can see a video of that talk here.

2011 Biennial
Biennial, seen here in 2011, offers guests a lot of diverse media. There really is something for everyone.

The exhibition always opens the night of Redding’s Cultural Cruise, a long-standing, free, city wide event that falls on the last Friday every January. West Coast Biennial usually brings in a larger than usual cruising crowd to Turtle Bay that night. About 375 people saw the 2017 Biennial on opening night. The following day, local artist Lura Wilhelm, who has a piece in the exhibition, gave a painting demonstration. Oh yeah, and we have a winner. Best in Show goes to Gina Herrera for her piece Rocking the Future. You will just have to come in and see it!

Are you an artist working in California, Oregon, Washington, or Alaska? Keep an eye out for the next contest announcement in August 2018!

2015 Biennial
2015 Best in Show Hansel and Gretel by Katherine Ace is on the right.
2015 Biennial
Every Biennial, seen here in 2015 is different. The combination of entries and outside jurors makes for a new experience each time.
2013 Biennial
The crowd awaits the announcement of the winners at the 2013 West Coast Biennial.

The Vault is Always Open!

Curatrix Julia

 

 

My Life with Animals: A Timber Tale

Most people see me as a pretty confident, self-assured person, but the truth of the matter is that when it comes to raising these wild animals, I am always worried that I am going to mess it all up. When they turn out good, I am sure that it was luck and I had nothing to do with it. Up until this point I had been pretty lucky but I was sure that this time my luck was about to run out. I was failing with this animal and success didn’t look like a probable outcome.

It all started with a big idea that I had. We were looking for something new to add or change in the museum for our members who have been to see us over and over again, so I suggested adding a beaver and some ducks to make the River Tank more authentic. Everyone loved the idea. “What did I just get myself in to?” I thought. It’s not like getting a dog, I couldn’t just go to the pet store or local shelter. This was going to be a challenge. Before then, every animal I had ever acquired was random. I had a list of potential animals we could have, and then waited for one to become available through a wildlife rehabilitator. This time, I had to actively find a baby beaver by the next summer.

After calling many of my contacts, I finally found a zoo in the midwest that had a pair of beavers who bred every year. Not having any way to prevent this, they had to find homes for the kits once born. There are always zoos who want them, so it hadn’t been a problem for them. I called and was told that I was the first on the waiting list for the year, so if they had kits, one was ours. So now all we had to do was wait. On June 23, 2014, she gave birth to three kits! We were so excited to get the youngster, but then we ran into a roadblock. They decided that they would not take the youngster from the group until it was at least 5 weeks old and weaned from the mom. I know that sounds pretty young still, but it was long enough for the kit to bond to the others and not to us, causing the kit to develop fear of humans. We wanted to be able to bottle feed him and wean him ourselves. That is the best, most successful way to bond with the animal. But no matter how many times I asked, they refused.

TimberOn August 12, 2014 I drove to the Sacramento airport to pick up our 7 week old beaver kit. He was adorable. It was really late and being a two hour drive home, we decided to get a hotel. I hadn’t checked to see if this place allowed dogs, but either way I wasn’t about to tell them I had a beaver with me. So, we got our room, parked the car near the side door and then quickly and quietly rushed in with his kennel. Whew, we got through undetected. I don’t know what I would have said had we been caught! We let him out to wander the room as he had been cooped up in that kennel traveling all day. Watching a beaver kit check himself out in the mirror was quite interesting. We then filled the bathtub with some water for him, but he wasn’t very interested in that, he just investigated the whole room. The night was uneventful and in the morning we packed up, snuck him back out to the car and headed back to Redding.

TimberOnce we got him home, the fear started to set in. He didn’t want anything to do with us during the day and would huff at us if we got too close to him. He was still on his nocturnal schedule and just wanted to sleep all day. Trying to wake a sleeping beaver was quite a feat. How were we going to bond to this little guy and teach him that we were not a threat? The only thing we could do: stay up with him when he decided to be up. I set up a cage in my spare bedroom with towels, a small water bowl, lots of sticks and a stuffed animal for him to cuddle up to while he slept. In the backyard, I placed a plastic baby pool with cinderblocks as steps in and out to give him easy access. Beavers need access to water, as they only defecate in water. This meant that at least once, if not twice a day, we had to get him in the pool so he could do his business.

TimberThere were so many challenges that I don’t even know where to start. He was so scared that I didn’t know how I was going to get him into the pool in a positive way and. more importantly, how was I going to get him back out of the water and into the house after.   But surprisingly, once he was at my house, he did better. I was able to pick him up out of his cage and bring him to the pool. As his round pudgy body hit the water, a puff of white was expelled and then what seemed like more feces than any little animal should be able to produce! I had to get him out of that filthy water, but once he was in the water, he didn’t want us anywhere near him. We tried to get our hands on him, but he squirmed, jumped out of the pool and ran across the yard. We went running after him. I swooped him up, Wayne grabbed a towel and we towel dried him as we brought him back into the house. The next time we brought him out to the clean pool, we were ready. Armed with a small fine net, he hit the water, expelled his load of grossness and we scooped it out before it disintegrated into a sea of brown slush! This became our new routine.

Every night, around 9 or 10pm when he woke up, we allowed him to swim (or more often float like a log) in the pool for as long as he wanted. He had learned that he could just walk to the back door, we would open it and he would waddle out to the pool on his own. At times he looked like a furry alligator with only his eyes peering above the waters’ surface. We would sit watching, sometimes for hours. We couldn’t move a muscle or he would spook and slap his tail. This meant it would be at least another hour before he calmed enough to leave the pool. Once done, he would climb out of the pool on the opposite side we were sitting and run across the yard. Like every night before, I would circle in front of him and like a goalie and catch him in my arms before he could hit the fence line. Armed with a towel, I would scoop him up, wrap him in the towel, Wayne would hand him a big piece of his favorite treat–sweet potato–as I carried him back in the house. Then, one day, it all changed. I had the greatest idea: “Let’s sit on the opposite side of the pool, where he always gets out. Maybe he will get out across from us towards the door.” So, Wayne and I sat and waited until about midnight. Then, Timber climbed out of the pool at the cinderblock, and walked right to the sliding glass door and back into the house. He walked down the hallway and put himself away into his cage where fresh towels, his stuffed animal and sticks awaited him!

TimberHe was getting more and more comfortable with us. I would stay up with him after his swims, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning. He would crawl up on me, snuggle in and go to sleep. He investigated the house, chewed the doors of our new home, and played with his stuffed animals and twigs. He was learning cues like “come” and “rise” and understood that “good” meant his favorite treats were coming. He started to allow us to move while he was in the pool and even put our hands in the water with him. I would crawl into his cage with him and we would groom one another. He was making such improvements, but only at my house. Every morning, we would put him in the car and take him back to Turtle Bay. He was not comfortable there at all. He would sleep all day and the little moments he was awake he exhibited nervous behaviors. Although the other trainers could and did, interact with him, he was not making the strides there that we had hoped. It was great that he was comfortable and bonding to me at the house, but if he couldn’t get comfortable with everyone else and at the place he was going to live, what were we going to do? How could we give him the life he deserved? It had been months and we had made little progress.

TimberIt was now November and if we didn’t get him introduced and settled in his new home at the Museum Aquarium soon it would be too cold and he would have to stay with me all winter. As much as I loved the little guy, he was growing quickly and needed more space. His pool was becoming a soak tub as he no longer had room to swim down “deep”. One morning I had a thought, “He is comfortable with us at the house and at the water. He is very uncomfortable in the Animal Care area.” I paused as my brain was churning, “But he isn’t going to be living in the Animal Care area. He is going to be living in the Aquarium!”   It was time to change things up. It was time to bring him to the Aquarium exhibit with the 22,000 gallon pool where he will live. The exhibit wasn’t fully ready for him yet, but it was good enough to start his introduction. Wayne got suited up in his wetsuit, we carried the 23lb beaver up the stairs and into the rocky exhibit.

TimberAs we released him onto the ledge in the shallow area of the pool, Wayne waited in the cold 53 degree water with treats in hand. Timber dipped his head down into water and glided the rest of his body in. He swam deep in the pool and popped back up to Wayne. He swam around Wayne’s feet and up to his shoulders. As much as I hate to be anthropomorphic, I felt like he had to be thinking, “It’s about time you guys got in here with me!” After a little while, we coaxed him out of the water and he went right back into his cage. No fear, no problems. We were finally on the right track!

After a few more of these successful introductions and when the exhibit was complete, it was time for an overnight. There was one big challenge and we had no idea how it was going to go. The new lodge that was built for him only had a tube entrance under the water. Not having been raised with such a different entrance point, Timber didn’t understand how to use it, so once he got into the frigid water, he didn’t know how to get out. We thought that if we locked him into the lodge, he would figure it out since it would be his only option. It was worth a try.

On the evening of November 13, 2014 we set up Timber’s lodge with all the things he was used to having: sticks, a little stump, his stuffed dog and towels that smelled like him and us. We carried his cage up to the Aquarium and across the shallow ledge of water to his lodge. We opened the door and let him out. We closed the back gate door of the lodge and left the area. From inside the Museum, we could see into the lodge and were set up to spend the night with him. We monitored everything he was doing for hours. At about 11pm that night, I called it off. He was not figuring out how to use the tube. He started chewing on the back metal gate door. I couldn’t watch anymore. We went up to the exhibit in the dark, balanced the cage at the back of the lodge and coaxed him back in. As I carried him back into my house and settled him in for the night I could not help but think I had failed.

Timber

Over the next few days we continued to work on the exhibit to make it more comfortable for Timber. We added a ramp out the back side of the lodge. We practiced with him in there more: swimming, climbing the ramp in and out, climbing the steep side out of the pool onto the land. It was time to try one more time. We prepared everyone for another overnight. I was going to stay the entire night and the rest of the staff and some volunteers would take shifts to join me. We released him into the lodge once again and left. I made a little camp in the Museum to observe him. As the sun went down, he walked to the back of the lodge and flopped right into the water. He swam and swam for hours. I watched worried. Would he get out on his own? Would he get too cold? Would he be scared? Only time would tell. Then it happened, he went to the backside of the lodge, walked up the ramp and sat on the edge his lodge grooming. After some time, he lay down in the back and went to sleep.

TimberThe next morning, I went up to the exhibit to a sleeping beaver, crawled into the lodge and we groomed for a half an hour. He then crawled out and climbed into my lap. I fed him some of his favorite treats and then packed up my stuff and headed home to bed. The house was quiet. Timber’s cage sat empty with torn up branches scattered about the room. We had done it!


Sharon Clay, Curator of Animal Programs

“One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin”

From the Vault: Staff Picks coming soon to the Museum!

Door to collections
What’s behind the heavily secured door? It’s a treasure trove of stories and information contained in objects, documents, and art.

What would you choose if you were given the opportunity to look through Turtle Bay’s Permanent Collection for an object to exhibit; a vintage coffee grinder or a hundred-year-old typewriter perhaps? Or are you more of a beaded evening bag sort of person? Would you choose something you already know or something you want to learn more about?

This is exactly what we asked the Turtle Bay staff to do for the next glass case exhibition in the main gallery. (We usually call this display space the “basket case” for a number of reasons.) Normally only the Collections and Exhibitions staff and volunteers access the Collections Facility, but we wanted to find out what would happen if everyone was given a chance to run wild (with gloves on – of course) among the museum’s 35,000 objects.

Coding
Once staff learned our not-so-secret-code, they can locate things on the shelves that they have found in the database.

Staff were given object handling training and some parameters. The object has to fit in the case, can’t have been exhibited in the past year, and can’t be a work of art – for reasons that will become clear next fall (cue evil Curatrix laugh). After ruling out these objects people were given the choice of doing a targeted search by using our database or to “go shopping” in the aisles, or any combination of the above.

Once an object is chosen, the staff member is given all of the information we have about it. From there, everyone was left to write about their choice in whatever style they want, from deep research to an essay about the choice itself, or both – as long as it fits on a single sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper in a readable font size. (See, I really am looking out for you.)

Behind the curtain
A place for everything. Staff got to pull back the curtains and open the boxes that house and protect our collection.

Some people have very specific reasons for their choice; say a passion for Disney or a special connection with another country. Others have had an appealing or intriguing object catch their eye. People have been coming over and searching in groups and it has been great way to get to know each other better. How else would we know that the Curator of Animal Programs and the Curator of Collections and Exhibits share a passion of old technology? You should see us in the typewriter section. Seriously, it’s embarrassing.

So far the most common things we’ve heard are “Wow, there’s so much stuff!” and (my favorite) “It’s so organized!” If it weren’t, we’d never find anything!

I am really looking forward to seeing how this comes together and to seeing how all of you react to it. Do you think you can predict what our Guest Services team or the Retail Manager chose? What about the Creative Services Officer or our animal trainers? What does the Horticulture Manager have in common with one of our baristas? You’ll just have to come see us January 27 for the Cultural Cruise to find out. Can’t make the Cruise? The Staff Picks exhibition will be up until April 30, 2017.

 

The Vault is Always Open!

 

Curatrix Julia (It’s official now – I have my Snoopy Plate.)

Curatrix