Yes, the heading says education, but in reality, every program and every exhibition we present is in some way educational. And, we hope, entertaining, and inspiring, and enriching as well.
And yet, some of the programs are, in fact, directly education-based, such as our ongoing museum tours for school children called Project ACCESS. In 2016, more than 7,400 students participated in this program, including 3,400 youth from Title One schools. This past year students experienced a new hands-on component in the galleries entitled the “Guitar Lab,” an exhibition that showed how an electric guitar is made emphasizing the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The teaching field calls it a “STEAM” initiative, recognizing how important those fields are in making sure our youth are prepared for the future.
Also newsworthy, our ongoing partnership with Joli Ann Elementary School completed its eighth year. When we launched the program back in 2008, the Museum’s goal was to provide the school with music education since, at that time, the district did not. Our artist-in-residence created a vibrant program that introduced some 800 students to the joy of music making each week. We are now thrilled to report that this year, the San Marcos School District hired a full-time, credentialed teacher for Joli Ann—and so school-sponsored music education is back!
So what do we do now? Well, this transition allows us to shift our resources, using them to bring talented musicians to school assemblies, and also gives us the opportunity to develop new outreach programs. Our vision is to increase our impact from 800 students to thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of students, each year. Stay tuned for more about this exciting development.
And in 2016, our adult music making programs continued. Flourished, actually. The North Coast Strings Orchestra completed its seventh year, with 81 enrolled in the program. A new beginner’s group was even formed, with 20 brave and inspired souls picking up their instruments. Our band, the New Horizons Band (which includes a concert band and jazz ensemble), has 107 enrolled in the program! Both groups presented great concerts during this past year—both on site and off—and will continue to do so in 2017—so we encourage you to come out to one (or more) of them.
Skillfully developing and managing all these exciting education programs is our Associate Director for Public Programs, Jillian Harrington. She gets help from many wonderful, committed supporters including The Saxton Family Foundation, enabling us to purchase sheet music for our orchestra; Supervisor Bill Horn and the County of San Diego for making the Guitar Lab STEAM station a reality; and the hundreds of individual and corporate donors that make it possible for us to provide free field trips for students in Title One schools.
Finally, we promised to write about our great staff in this issue of Notes, but a couple of people are still missing. There’s B.J., of course. As in B.J. Morgan, our Marketing Manager. He’s the one sending out email blasts, designing our monthly mailers, taking care of our website—making sure you know about all our great programs and offerings here at MoMM. Dave Liggett, our Weekend Manager, and Allison Hargis, our Store Buyer, round out the team here at the Museum. We hope you get the chance to meet each of these stellar staff members at some point.