FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 01, 2017
Mary Ann Hatchitt
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2017 (Santa Fe, NM) – The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCA) mobile museum Wonders on Wheels (WoW) hits the road this summer, offering New Mexicans a unique opportunity to experience the state’s rich prehistoric past without traveling to a museum. The Mobile Museum will typically spend up to two weeks at a time in specific regions of the state.
WoW is a specially retrofitted 38-foot RV featuring 300 square feet of arts, culture, history, and science exhibits and curriculum based programming on wheels. The WoW mobile museum will bring specific exhibits curated from one of DCA’s eight state-run museums to public schools and libraries in communities throughout New Mexico. The curriculum is targeted toward fourth and fifth grade students.
“We are extremely happy and excited to launch the Wonder on Wheels ” said DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales. “This is an incredibly effective STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) resource to engage diverse, rural and underserved residents of New Mexico with active, hands-on learning experiences across cultural and scientific disciplines. It allows us to share the rich educational materials housed in New Mexico’s state museums and historic sites with all of our citizens, and deepen the understanding of our shared history, arts and culture.”
The featured exhibit for Spring/Summer/Fall 2017 features authentic fossils from the vast internationally renowned paleontological resources held by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) in Albuquerque. From the bootheel to the plains, from the Four Corners to the Texas border, dinosaur fossils have been found all over New Mexico. The WoW exhibit and curriculum offers a glimpse into the life of Seismosaurus, and Coelophysis– the State dinosaur of New Mexico. In this exhibit, children will learn how fossils were formed, what paleontologists do, what dinosaurs ate, how they lived, and their habitat combined with an educational curriculum that meets statewide and national standards.
The exciting interactive, hands-on exhibits provide a rich, experiential curriculum delivered by trained educators who engage students in diverse subject matters ranging from New Mexico history to folk, native and fine arts, natural history, space science, and more. The WoW program is in partnership with, and will make stops at New Mexico’s public and tribal libraries and offer full family programming at each stop. This unparalleled out-of-the-classroom experience will provide a critical museum-based educational experience to students who live too far away from, or don’t otherwise have access to DCA museums and historic sites.
Curators, educators, and designers from DCA’s eight museums will create the experience in the Mobile Museum. Each of the following museums will build a WoW exhibit that will travel throughout New Mexico for one year: the NM Museum of Natural History & Science, the Museum of Fine Art, the NM History Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, NM Historic Sites, and the NM Museum of Space History.
DCA estimates that the Mobile Museum will serve up to 15,000 school children each year in all 33 counties of New Mexico. Serving elementary schools in remote and rural communities that have little or no access to museums will be a priority. The service directly connects the resources and educational opportunities of DCA with New Mexicans statewide.
The WoW program is made possible by the support of the J.F. Maddox Foundation, the SP and Estelle Yates Family Foundation, The Chase Foundation, and the New Mexico Public Education Foundation. The exhibits and outreach costs are funded through grants and individual donations.