Danville Express

Newsfront - October 26, 2007

Museum program adds speakers who are 'treasures'

Indians and preparing acorns are the focus right now

by Jordan M. Doronila

Roll out the red carpet. Celebrities are coming.

The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is beefing up its outreach program by inviting all experts, including celebrities, who have made significant contributions in the area to share their life experiences with children.

"We are just starting," said Betty Joyce, coordinator of the Museum Outreach Program. "It could be anyone who has contributed to the San Ramon Valley and is still breathing - whether it's arts, sports, music."

The Outreach Program has had two major components. One involves teaching fourth-graders from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District about Indians who once lived in Danville.

This year, the Museum is presenting "An Indian Life Exhibit: The First Families of Our Valley," which began Sept. 29 and will end Nov. 13. Students use old mortars to mash acorns into powder, and listen to docents relate stories of Indians living in the Valley.

The other component has third-graders dress up in 19th century-clothing and visit the One Room School House on Finley Road in the Tassajara Valley in late February.

"In both programs, they have the chance to experience history in another way," said Beverly Lane, museum curator. "Kids like to experience things. It's memorable."

Joyce's third component to the program is called Local Treasures. Last month, Norm Kidder, supervising naturalist at Sunol Regional Wilderness, gave a talk, said Lane. Kidder is considered an expert on the Stone Age.

Joyce noted she has contacted former San Francisco 49ers tight end Brent Jones, who now coaches at Monte Vista High School, to share his personal insights.

Lane said the program is seeking different perspectives, and the speakers do not have to be celebrities. They can be doctors, professors or other professionals.

Joyce said she will do her best to get popular figures.

"I am looking forward to trying," she said.


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