Friday, November 15, 2013

Big Turnout to Honor Our Local Vets

Mon, Nov 11th was our 4th Annual Veterans Day Dinner.  One of my personal highlights of this event is walking around Scopazzi's Restaurant, welcoming our veterans and their families to an evening of shared experiences and history.  I always check that each vet has received and is wearing their annual veteran pin that displays the current Veteran Department's image.  This year the word is 'Valor' and it is so visible in each of our veterans' faces, carriage, and demeanor.  This year we had a poem written by local veteran Bob Presswood about the Viet Nam Memorial Wall.  I am from that era and went to high school with so many classmates who were drafted.  Over 20 years ago I visited the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, touched the names, and felt such overwhelming sadness seeing that long list of names.  The poem put me back there, standing in front of that long black wall again.  That is what this evening is about - sharing, the camaraderie of shared experiences, sharing across generations.  I wouldn't miss this experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Boulder Creek Brewery sponsorship a huge Success!

I want to send a big THANK YOU to Nancy Long and Steven Wyman, co-owners of Boulder Creek Brewery, for sponsoring our 1st Community Night.  The BC Brewery has always been a committed supporter of the SLV Museum, so we were so happy that Nancy agreed without hesitation to our request to partner with them for our 1st Community Night.  I went late with my husband, but even at 9 pm the dining area was half full and plenty of people were the enjoying the microbrewery bar.  We had a delicious dinner of (for me) garlic shrimp and steak medallions with garlic mashed potatoes and perfectly steamed veggies and (my husband) the ribs with string fries and coleslaw.  Enjoyed it all and shared desserts (mini carrot cake and brownie ice cream sundae).  We had fun asking each other the Trivia Pursuit questions from the stack of cards on the tables.  Before we knew it our food was served.  I've heard from others who stopped by the Brewery in support of the Museum that it was very busy.  Thank you to ALL our supporters who supported us by supporting our great local business, Boulder Creek Brewery and Cafe'.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Visitors to our Wee Wonders and Widgets Exhibit

I have always enjoyed watching our visiting children show their excitement and wonder watching a model train go around on a track and make the train whistle sounds.  However, there is nothing like the unbridled joy in watching mentally challenged adults visiting us for the first time and their realizing that they can make their own models from all the construction bits and pieces.  We were visited by the Laurel Street Center in downtown Santa Cruz on three different days.  Their van can only bring so many people at a time so they came on three different days with some repeating visitors.  I had my hand eagerly grabbed and taken to a very small train that went around a very small circle track, but made a very loud train chugging sound and went through a tunnel.  The young man was so surprised and pleased with the miniature train he had to share his excitement with someone and I was the one he picked.  A young woman was fascinated with the flume and kept looking through our book-like exhibit filled with flume photos and its history here in San Lorenzo Valley.  Several models were proudly made with exhibit labels written out and names written at the bottom of the label.  I got hugs and waves when they left.  What a wonderful visit.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Getting Ready for our Annual Models & Miniatures Exhibition!

It has been a very busy few days as exhibitors are bringing their models and miniatures to the Museum.   We've had some beautiful dollhouses setup complete with furniture and people.  The exhibit cases are all being exchanged from artifacts to Erector models of early 1920's and 1930's transportation and a Lego model of a busy railroad yard.  I've enjoyed meeting so many of our local model and miniature enthusiasts who are so excited and pleased to share their passions with the community.  I have enjoyed meeting some of our new exhibitors who attended as visitors in past years and decided they wanted to participate so we have new train layouts, train cars, and dollhouses.  I am always amazed at our exhibitors patience in building so many intricate models, most of them actually operable.   I am hoping that we have a huge number of families attending and that the children enjoy being creative with all the construction model pieces we will have in tubs located in an activity area and afterward those models will be on display.  This is a fun event for both adults and children.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Enjoying New Leaf Community Day

Yesterday, Thurs, Aug 29, was Boulder Creek New Leaf Market's Community Day to benefit the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.  We have volunteers staffing an information table, but I secretly feel that they have all the fun.  When I check with my volunteers at each shift change I get the chance to talk with New Leaf's customers.  I talked with a couple from San Francisco camping at Big Basin who didn't realize that there was a history museum in town, but now will definitely visit.  We all thanked New Leaf's customers as they came out of the store for supporting the museum through their purchases - another opportunity to explain how small communities support each other.  I talked with a recent transplant from Palo Alto who loves history and was documenting Palo Alto's.  Now he is interested in SLV's and can't wait to visit.  New Leaf's Community Days supporting our local non profits through the year does more than just make a donation from their daily sales - it gives the designated non profit the opportunity to reach out to their community - thanking, networking, making that physical contact.  That's just as important.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

1st Pop-Up Museum

I have never attended a Pop-Up Museum before so I am so excited that we are partnering again with our non profit neighbor in Ben Lomond, the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center on Mill Street, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz for our valley's first Pop-Up Museum.  Don't know what a Pop-Up museum is or how it is different from a regular museum?  First, it comes together with little advance publicity.  Second, it is only together as a museum for a few hours - less than one day.  Third, it is a participatory activity - meaning that the exhibitors are those who bring something to share, display, and/or talk about.  Fourth, the objects, ephemera, or photographs brought to share are displayed for the remainder of time that the museum is in place.  Fifth, there will be a theme or title for the Pop-Up Museum, but it is usually very broad or generic to encourage participation by all ages.    Our Pop-Up is titled 'Lost and Found' so bring any found object on Sat, Aug 24 between 1 - 5 pm to the Santa Cruz Mts Art Center and share why you find this 'found object' so fascinating.  I can't wait to see what our Valley community has found.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10th Annual Community BBQ

Our 10th Annual Community BBQ event is over and we had something for everyone this year.  We almost doubled the number of people served a delicious BBQ with dessert being make-your-own-sundaes.  For some it was definitely 'dessert first' as they had their ice cream first, then the BBQ Italian Sausage or hamburger or BOTH.  Roasted corn-on-the-cob, fresh fruit salad, tasty spinach salad, and a cool watermelon kept everyone satisfied. 

Our horseshoe tournament was back in full swing after a couple of years off.  Congrats to winners Steve Cordoza and Carlos Trevino who generously donated their winnings back to the museum.  Talks are being held to see if the Museum can host a regularly scheduled horseshoe tournament on our two regulation pits.  More details as talks continue.

President and author Lisa Robinson had a very good size crowd listening to her visual presentation on the history of San Lorenzo Valley.  She utilized almost 200 photos in a slide show that spanned many decades, many of them from the Museum's own photo collection.

Thanks to our local band, 'The Home Wreckers', who donated their time to play and entertain everyone.  We even had a few people up and dancing.  Great job and great music!

The silent auction and raffle were fun with a wide variety of prizes to win.  From two passes on the Chardonnay Charter sailboat combined with a gift certificate from the Crow's Nest to a large stuffed Pepe LePhew.  I won a Wallace and Gromet mug with dials to select how strong, how much sugar, and how much cream in my coffee so I can have a perfect cuppa. 

Next year our 11th Annual Community BBQ will be on Sunday, July 20th *hint - it's always the 3rd Sunday in July.  Be sure and not to miss it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yesterday I had a couple from the Carmel Valley Historical Society.  The CVHS is opening their museum in December and were very interested in how the SLV Historical Society operated as an organization and managed our museum.  I felt honored to give them a tour of our museum, explaining our rotating exhibits, how our school fieldtrip program operated, and the community support we receive to grow and thrive.  They were interested in how we had such professional looking exhibit text panels, if we had a collection policy, how we tracked our collections donations, and they took photos of everything.  I felt good to be able to help another small museum with my experiences over the last 10 years as they eagerly look forward to opening up their museum doors in their community.  If anyone is down that way in December or early next year, stop by the Carmel Valley Museum and let them know you are from Boulder Creek and heard about their museum.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Successful fundraiser @ Scopazzi's on Thurs, June 13th

What a wonderful night everyone had last Thurs, June 13th @ Scopazzi's!  The Museum decided to 'change it up' a bit by having a special menu highlighting chef Paul's delicious flavorful pasta in a buffet setting.  Everyone loved the variety of pasta dishes, even a gluten-free option was available, and the option to taste a bit of everything.  The live auction items were spotlighted in a corner with a big ticket donation of a track bike that looked like a racer and a framed etched-glass reverse-painted framed art piece of the famous Big Basin Auto Tree circa 1910 by artist Zane Williams.  In the live auction, bidding was very lively with lots of laughs and good nature 'stealing' going on with each higher bid.  The turnout for the evening was double from last year and the bidding was enthusiastic and fun.    If you missed it this year, be sure and attend next year.  You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Traveling Exhibit Coming in March 2014

Yesterday I drove with the museum's Collection Manager Lisa Robinson to the San Joaquin County Historical Society's Museum complex in Lodi to attend an all-day exhibit workshop on the Smithsonian's 'The Way We Worked' exhibit that will be stopping at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum on March 9, 2014.  There were representatives from the other museums on the schedule so exchanges of ideas and questions were being shared.  This exhibit looks at how and why 'work' has evolved and how that evolution has changed not only our own personal lives, but also our communities.  There will be more info the closer we get to the date, but the exhibit will only be at the SLV Museum for 5 weeks so circle date and make a point of stopping by to see this world-class exhibit.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting Ready for an Auction! or two!

This is an exciting time around the SLV Museum and this year I am more excited than ever.  Scopazzi Restaurant co-owners Tahlal Janbay and Paul Violante worked with us to offer an exciting new dinner menu for  our Annual Fundraising Dinner.  The menu will have three Italian pasta dishes in a buffet setting so everyone can sample and go back for their favorites.  We even have a gluten-free option.  Our live auction has great items for bidding, such as 2 tickets for Giants vs. Dodgers on Fri, July 5th in the Virgin America Club seat section, a guided historic tour of Boulder Creek with lunch, Ahlgren wine pairings (they have stopped producing so their wine is going fast into collections), a Gnarly Head track bike, a table-top BBQ filled with goodies, an oval metal tub (just add ice) filled with hand-crafted beers, beer glasses and snacks, a basket filled with home-made jams, jellies, preserves, and various mixes - just to name some.  Our silent auction is packed with great items too.  I enjoy packaging restaurants together with an evening or day out, like to Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Symphony, restaurant group packages, and family day outings like to the Winchester Mystery House, Happy Hollow, Gilroy Gardens, and Roaring Camp or ziplining at Mt Hermon.  All proceeds go to benefit our programs and operating our historic museum.  However, I couldn't organize and coordinate all this with all our wonderful volunteers to work so many hours to make this a success every year.  It is fun, gives a sense of accomplishment, and a good feeling to know that families throughout the San Lorenzo Valley will benefit through school field trips, new exhibits, family activities, cultural days, learning from historic talks and walks.  Thank you everyone.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Museum's Community Involvement

I get excited about the SLV Museum being a community museum.  I can't help it.  I love it when visitors stop by, especially when it's on the spur of the moment.  Take today for example - a mother stopped by with her 6 year old son.  They have been driving by time and time again, her son asking to stop, and today was the day that they did!  I enjoyed walking around with the two of them, explaining the differences between our several clothes washing machines (even the hand operated one), letting the young boy grind some coffee beans, and going through some of the old logging photos we have laminated for visitors to view.  We stood in front of the 1902 framed photo of Boulder Creek and the young boy located his school, BC Elementary, on the hill top looking down on the town.  We looked at the turn-of-the-century grooming items and the hand-cranked phone, discussed how the church building would have been heated by a wood stove and I pointed at the patch in the roof where the wood stove stack went through the roof back then.  Lots of fun and a visit to remember. 

However, a community museum also goes out INTO the community.  One way is to participate in other community events.  I've been busy getting our booth ready for the annual Redwood Mountain Faire on June 1st & 2nd.  Volunteers are being scheduled, books are being ordered to stock our booth, and a pack list of literature, canopy/tables/chairs, and other materials is being compiled.  We will have San Lorenzo Valley history books as well as Santa Cruz County history and exploration books, and BC 1902 panoramic photos for sale.  Sign up to be on our Constant Contact list for future event announcements and take a newsletter to learn more about new exhibits, upcoming events, and what our mission is, but most important, just stop by and say Hi!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wedding at the Museum

Last Sunday, April 14th, we had a beautiful wedding complete with catered reception, gazebo wedding vows, slideshow photos in the museum, and games for the children.  Even horseshoes were offered!  The day was gorgeous and the landscape was in its spring bloom.  The bride was beautiful in her white gown and the guests really enjoyed exploring the Museum, learning about the history of our area and sharing their own stories.  I'm so glad that we can offer the San Lorenzo Valley community another venue for gatherings of all kinds. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I really look forward to seeing the class field trips visit the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.  I have the opportunity to talk a bit with the parents as well as see the young students immersing themselves into each exhibit area.  These bright minds always have questions for our docents, who wear period costumes, and really get into making Indian hacky sacks, stenciled bookmarks, and moon winder toys to take back with them.  After the inside tour the students go outside and get into circles, kicking the hacky sacks back and forth while other students wind up and then spin out their moon winders.  This last week we have had three classes from Boulder Creek Elementary, who walk with their teachers and parents from their school past several  historic Victorian homes to the museum.  I feel a lot of pride that our town still has a lot of its history intact so the students can learn about their local history as they make the trek along those early streets to and from the museum.  What a wonderful field trip and what a lasting memory in the making.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I never know who my visitors to the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.  Sometimes it is members bringing visiting family or friends, sometimes it is visitors who used to live in the San Lorenzo Valley years ago, and sometimes it is Santa Cruz County residents exploring their county history by visiting many of our wonderful museums.  We love it when our visitors become members because they realize the importance of preserving and sharing local history.  Our newest members were once business owners in Boulder Creek, though before I moved here in 1990.  They were the owners of the Black Forest Bakery, then the Harvest Bakery - both in Boulder Creek.  I'm looking forward to talking with them about what the town and community was like when they were part of the downtown business community.  What a great addition to our oral histories collection. 
Attended the California Association of Museums last week (2/20-2/22) which was held in Santa Barbara.  Enjoyed visiting other small museums and seeing how they display their collections, what type of  fundraisers they have found to be successful in supporting their museum, and what type of staffing they utilize.  Went to 4 workshops per day plus mini-roundtables in between workshops discussing topics such as 101 Survival Ideas for Small Museums.  The other benefit of attending conferences such as this one is the networking one-on-one with peers around the state, sharing information about a variety of topics.  The conference always provides ideas to bring back to our own San Lorenzo Valley Museum for exhibits, fundraising, enhancing the communication with our community, and how to be better caretakers of our collections.  If anyone would like to hear more about this conference, stop by the SLV Museum on W/TH/F and let's talk.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Exec Director has new blog!

I am very excited to have a blog where I can share some of the interesting, fun, or humbling events that happen at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.  Today our 2 Master Gardener volunteers spent 2 hours pruning our trees and trimming around the flaxes among several other tasks.  They volunteer throughout the year keeping our grounds beautiful.  In addition, the grounds can be  rented for any occasion, such as weddings, family reunion, birthday party, celebration of life for a very reasonable donation.