Jessica Weston City Editor Jessica_Weston9
New years resolutions are all about the future, but wise people have always known there is much to be learned by looking at the past. And that is where museums come in.
According to a recent presentation by Maturango Museum Executive Director/CEO Debbie Benson, one reason museums exist is to allow the public to experience their local culture in a meaningful and personal way. They also preserve and identify items of importance for the community.
According to its mission statement, the Maturango Museum aims “to preserve, interpret, and develop an appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Northern Mojave Desert through research and education in the natural and physical sciences and to promote the arts.”
The museum offers a bunch of programs, including lectures on archaeology, natural history and topics of local interest; concerts; art exhibits; historical and archaeological curation, research library and research; publications in archaeology, rock art, and topics of local interest; the Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP); the Gladys Merrick garden; planetarium and solar events with members of the China Lake Astronomical Society; an annual wildflower show and other special events.
The museum may be best known for its Coso Petroglyph Tours, conducted in the spring and fall. Tours visit Lower Renegade Canyon/ “Little Petroglyph Canyon” in the Cosos/Navy land. Tours are led by volunteers trained by the museum and the Navy. The museum conducted 32 regular tours during the 2016 season with 546 participants, 140 of which took part during the annual Petroglyph Festival.
The museum also conducts tours involving geology, art and local points of interest.
The museum building itself features a “hands-on” children's exhibit area, a popular gift shop exhibit galleries: the Sylvia Winslow Gallery for rotating exhibits; the El Paso Gallery for natural history, archaeology and local cultural history; the vestibule, the Argus Gallery and other display areas.
Art exhibits are featured throughout the year, with local artists as well as those from out of the area. Exhibits are the result of a juried selection process.
The annual Open Studio Tour allows art lovers to visit local artists in their home studios and learn more about their processes and their work.
One extremely popular offering is the museum's docent program, under the guidance of Nora Nuckles. The docent program in 2016 put on 328 programs for 9140 children and adults and racked up a 77 percent outreach for schools and libraries.
The museum also has a portable traveling planetarium, named the Beth Armogida Planetarium after donors Frank and Beth Armigoda.
For those in need of a new year's resolution, the museum relies heavily on volunteers. Volunteers help with virtually all aspects of running the museum and logged nearly 16,000 hours in 2016. And Benson said that was likely under-reported by half. Anyone interested in getting involved is welcome to contact the museum.
For more information on the museum, see
maturango.org or visit at 100 E. Las Flores Ave.
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