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CV museum to have Youth Gallery thanks for Smallwood grant

Staff reports

Valley young people will be able to create their own museum thanks to a $21,000 grant from the Smallwood Foundation.

The Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation Youth Gallery will be developed at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center and will be the exclusive project of the students who participate, says museum curator Cecile Brown.

Fifteen 5th grade students with the guidance of teacher Barbara Young will plan, design, create, maintain and curate a gallery for the youth of the Carson Valley. They will operate a “museum within the museum,” Brown said.

Skills the students will learn through this year-long process include planning, budgeting, exhibit construction, scheduling, research and theme development. They will also learn how a group works together.

“This year we are developing a core group who will be able to participate in following years’ programs,” Brown said. “They will be able to form the nucleus of a large program that will develop over time.”

The program will include at least two visits to other area museums via Douglas County recreation division vehicles.

One of the programs the students will work on is developing, with the assistance of a professional Web page designer, the Youth Gallery page on the museums’ Web site: http://www.carsonvalleymuseums.com.

They will design and maintain the site as part of their work with the Youth Gallery. The students will also learn to use the Internet as a research tool.

Students will be taken on first-come, first-served basis. Parental permission is required, as the students will be asked to commit to a full year’s participation.

Brown said Young will recruit high school-age “mentors” to work with the students on the gallery projects.

“We expect demand for the program to exceed the slots available, so we are maintaining a wait list in case any student must leave the group. In this way we can make room for others to participate,” Brown said. “We see it as a way to extend our reach into the community and foster a life-long interest in the history of our area.”

The original seed money for the gallery was obtained in 1998 when the Carson Valley Lions Club gave a donation in memory of one of their deceased members to start a Youth Gallery.