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Museum will feature new Youth Gallery this year

by Mellisa Murphy, staff writer

The Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center has slated a youth gallery to fill the vacancy left by the East Fork Gallery move last month.

The Smallwood Foundation awarded approximately $21,000 to fund the program, which allows students to serve as curators, designers and creative consultants of a museum exhibit.

The society hopes to serve a total of 30 students in two six-month increments of 15 students each, Museum Curator Cecile Brown said.

“A field trip is planned to familiarize students with how an exhibit is put together,” she said.

Barbara Young, teacher for Minden and Scarselli elementaries, will be heading up the program.

“The students can choose just about anything for the gallery topic,” Young said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be art.”

Young said she is limiting the program’s recruitment to hand-picked 6th graders taken from her schools.

“The gallery is a huge commitment for students,” she said.

The gallery room is vacant, with the exception of a brand-new computer system and a computer desk.

The computer, an IBM, has Internet access to provide students with resources that will aid them in designing their gallery.

“The first group will start work in September with their exhibit opening before Christmas,” Young said. “The second group of 15 begins in January.”

Like other organizations of its kind, the Carson Valley Historical Society survives on federal funds and community donations.

The historical society has a yearly budget of between $50,000 and $75,000, depending on the number and magnitude of the projects it undertakes, Brown said. With a continuous inflow of artifacts and complicated operating costs, it is always on the lookout for aid.

“We’re competitive for funds,” Brown said.

Brown said that a ballpark figure for the sum total of all grants recieved by the society rivals that of similar establishments in the state of Vermont.

Networking is the key to increasing notoriety and grant awards, she said, and grants exist for categories ranging from archival preservation to management assessment.

The Ben Snow Foundation recently awarded the society $10,000 for operating budget costs.

“This grant is very good, but also very hard to get,” Brown said.

The National Endowment for the Humanities also awarded a vital grant – money to purchase environmental monitoring equipment for artifacts, including humidity monitors and preservative shelving for papers and other artifacts.

Minden Fortnightly has awarded the society with funds to purchase archival materials for textiles for the past four years, Brown said, and the government is also compensating for underserving the states of Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

“The yearly money that we receive from community organizations such as the Lions Club, Rotary, Basque Club and others is very important to how much we can do. Knowing it’s there consistently helps us, and keeps me from worrying about funds.”