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County Museum Programs Come to High Desert

A very small piece of the ocean has been visiting the high desert. Traveling with the San Bernardino County Museum’s “Museum on the Road” program are museum specimens of fish, mollusks, bivalves and other marine critters. These specimens represent the diversity of ocean life, and students and families in our communities are being wowed.

The programs are coming to the high desert thanks to a grant received by the museum from the Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties – The Wilmas Charitable Trust Foundation. Educators at the museum have wanted to bring their popular, award-winning outreach programs to residents of the high desert, and the grant has made it possible.

“With our large county, it’s hard for many people to get to the museum in Redlands,” said Jolene Redvale, education curator at the museum. “We’re always looking for ways to get our programs into areas that have a hard time accessing them. This is a chance for our neighbors in the high desert to see some of the objects in our collections that represent the wonders of our region.”

In addition to presenting programs in schools, the museum has lined up a series of programs at libraries and other community centers for the public to enjoy. “Learning isn’t just for kids,” said Redvale, adding that she is excited that the museum received funding to serve families as well as school kids. Schools are often open to having parents and younger siblings attend the programs as the schools, as well.

“Anytime people get to be in contact with real objects – specimens and artifacts – interest is high and they remember more about the experience,” said Redvale. “We also promote a sense of place, building understanding about the world and our place in it.”

Throughout the fall and winter, museum programs will be going on every week in schools and community places in Hesperia, Barstow, Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley, and Victorville. Elementary schools received letters informing them they qualify to receive the programs. Libraries and other community centers are being invited to host a program for their regular audiences. Many programs still need to be scheduled, Redvale said.

“We’re still open for places to host programs for the community. We can come on a weekday afternoon or even on a Saturday. We’re looking at serving over 7,000 residents and we want to make programs easy to find.”

Community centers, youth and senior centers, and others are invited to contact the museum to inquire about hosting a public program. Staff can be reached at (909) 307-2669 x 256 / TDD/TTY: (909) 792-1462 Tuesday through Friday.

Among the programs offered through this project are the intriguing “All About Insects,” which includes oversized models and live insects, and “Journey Into Serrano Culture,” in which participants get to handle and try out some of the tools and games used in the past by the Serrano people. In addition, the grant has provided for all the schools that receive the “Museum on the Road” programs to have a year-long membership to the museum’s Loan Program, giving teachers access to hundreds of museum specimens and artifacts in sets with curriculum materials.

“All programs meet curriculum standards, but more importantly, are plain fun. The children were ecstatic when they were allowed to handle the walking sticks and the leaf insects!” one program host indicated after the museum presentation of “All About Insects.”

Coming up, programs open to the public are scheduled at the Apple Valley Library on December 1 at 4:00 p.m. and on December 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Those interested in attending can call the library staff at (760) 247-2022 for more details.

“It’s fun giving presentations to kids and families in the High Desert,” said Museum Educator Karen Saffle, who lives in the area. “It’s important for them to be able to see and touch many of the objects we bring out. This is a unique opportunity for students and families in the High Desert.”

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. For more information, visit or call (909) 307-2669 / TDD/TTY: (909) 792-1462.


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