January 2014. New Year’s Message from the Executive Director.
(East Mojave Indian Paintbrush by Chris Ervin)
Here it is the end of another year. We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all, it has been a good year. Major accomplishments of the MDHCA include:
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American Boy Stamp Mill Thanks to the leadership, expertise, and hard work of Charlie Connell, the volunteers he has recruited, and the generosity of board member John Fickewirth, we have made major progress on the American Boy Ten-Stamp Mill during 2013. To the delight of all who were at Goffs, the mill was operated during the recent Mojave Road Rendezvous. Our goal for 2014 is to have this huge artifact fully on line and functioning by the time of the Spring Encampment in April. We plan to have a dedication ceremony for the mill at that time.
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Mojave Road During the year the MDHCA entered into an agreement with the National Park Service, Mojave National Preserve, to periodically patrol the Mojave Road to pick up trash and provide for early detection of any emerging problems. The terms of our agreement with NPS MNP are such that we can do these monitoring trips up to four times a year. These trips will be under the oversight of Dennis Casebier.
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Mojave Desert Archives Major progress has been made during the year organizing the collections of the Mojave Desert Archives. Our single most extensive collection is that of Harold and Lucile Weight. Much progress has been made by Loris Mitchell organizing materials and constructing finding aids. Other volunteers have put in many hours re-housing the Weight materials in archival quality sleeves.
I have nearly completed digitization of the hundreds of audio tapes of oral history interviews with desert old-timers done by the Weights years ago. Also, I sleeved nearly half of the thousands of Weight Collection photograph negatives and developed an electronic finding aid to them.
Also during the year, Jackie Ridge has continued her work organizing the massive collection formed over a period of many years by San Bernardino County historian Germaine Moon.
From June through September, Claire Dubois was an intern-in-residence. With our high-end scanner she digitized about 4,000 of our more than 100,000 historic photographs.
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Looking Back and Looking Ahead It has now been a little over year since I took over as Executive Director of the MDHCA at the 2012 Rendezvous, relieving Dennis Casebier, who had been in the role since 1993. Providing leadership and coordinating most MDHCA affairs at the Goffs Cultural Center is a challenging, yet rewarding, job.
Looking back over my 2013 accomplishments, I can report to you that I continue to work with the County of San Bernardino to gain the necessary permits to construct a new Exhibit Hall with a county block grant. This structure, measuring 24' by 40' will be located on the Boulevard of Dreams across from the Dennis G. Casebier Library. We expect to see it go up during the first half of 2014. It will be used to house artifacts that have been in storage for want of space.
Here at the end of 2013, the MDHCA is financially solvent. Thanks to you, our recent raffle fundraiser and Rendezvous were successful. We met our goal of $20,000. That sounds like a lot of money, but keep in mind it costs upwards to $100,000 a year to run the Goffs Cultural Center.
As is true with much of America, the Association has suffered financially through the economic downturn of recent years. For that reason, those of us on the board managing the purse strings are naturally frugal... we call ourselves "frugalites!" Therefore I should note that we need your financial support more than ever. Remember, your donations are tax deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Hugh Brown, Goffs