The Natural History Museum of Santa Maria held a reception Sunday to announce the reinvigoration of their school programs. The reception was held at the museum, across from the library on McClelland Street in Santa Maria, and was attended by 40 members and friends of the museum.
Guests enjoyed touring the museum’s exhibits and beautiful native garden of indigenous plants. Teacher Corrine Klein from Pacific Christian School spoke during a brief program about the field trips she and her students have been taking to the museum for the last 20 years. Two of her young students, Bella and Jocelyn, shared that they had particularly enjoyed the seashore exhibit and the ‘scavenger hunt’ which asks young visitors to find and identify artifacts within the museum.
The museum has been open for nearly 20 years and has always provided free tours to school groups and the public alike. In recent years, the museum’s volunteer leadership and staff have seen a drop in school tours, once hosting groups multiple times a month. The museum’s board recognized a need to hire a paid employee to coordinate the museums programs and funding needs.
Thanks to a generous grant, the museum’s board recently hired Development Coordinator Hilary Burgoon who will be working to expand the Natural History Museum’s impact and capacity for growth. Hilary comes to the museum with several years’ experience in university fundraising, volunteer leadership with other museums and theatres, as well as experience in film production and screenwriting. She is also an associate producer for the feature film “Coast” filmed in Santa Maria and Guadalupe this summer.
Working with the museum, Hilary’s focus will be finding additional funding for the museum’s facility and programs, including school outreach though tours and teaching kits, Live! Program, and coordinating the annual Earth Day celebration.
For Earth Day 2019, the museum seeks to identify businesses and organizations with strong conservation or sustainability models to serve as vendors at the celebratory block party held on South McClelland Street the third weekend in April.
The museum welcomes visitors Tuesday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by special appointment. If you are interested in scheduling a group visit or partnering with the museum as an Earth Day vendor, please contact Burgoon at 805-614-0806.