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Private Reception for New Eclectic Nevada Exhibit Was A Treat

By Joan Whitely

cannabis panel
Eclectic Nevada exhibit

Several months ago, the Friends paid for the museum to buy a selection of swatches of animal hide. At a private museum reception on Sept. 13, Friends got to proudly touch those swatches, which have become part of an interactive display at “Eclectic Nevada,” the museum’s newest changing exhibit.

Those swatches now enable visitors to determine with their own fingers the characteristics of furs of various animals. Among the furs are samples of beaver, elk, coyote and bighorn - all present in the state.

Bobcat fur is the softest, agreed guests including Friends Carol Swearingen and Jeanne Howerton, as well as Jeff Grandy, a representative from PBS television who is working with the Friends and museum on several endeavors.

“My favorite is the bobcat,” Howerton said. “Then I found out that bobcat pelts sell for $1,000 - and coats (for) up to $150,000.”

Her husband, Charlie Rodewald, was drawn to a row of antique typewriters with varying keyboard designs. But the Underwood model on display, he observed, isn’t in as good of shape as his own 1920s Underwood, which he rescued decades ago from abandoned debris in the basement of a house that he and friends once rented.

Even a row of outmoded telephones drew comment from a Sept. 13 guest who used to work in tech support at a call center. He pointed to a many-buttoned phone console and called it the “gold standard” in the U.S. workplace three or four decades ago. There’s also a tin can telephone that works only when the string between the cans is taut enough.

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Some highlights from the Eclectic Nevada exhibit

The exhibit’s designers placed a premium on giving visitors the opportunity to touch and move bits and pieces. Among the touchable items were a floor map of Nevada counties for children to assemble, and a shake-able model illuminating how a rattlesnake’s rattle makes its noise. Guests can move about markers designating present casinos, as they attempt to correlate them with bygone casinos that appear an old aerial photo of the Strip that’s been enlarged into a photo “strip” about 30 feet long.

The “Eclectic” show covers numerous aspects of the Silver State. Other displays include:

“Eclectic Nevada” will run through May 2020.

Friends Panel Illuminates NV Cannabis Business

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The cannabis panel, from left: Chris Giunchigliani, Carolyn White, Brandon Weigand, Jon Norman, and Ruth Fisher

One practical and valuable idea emerged from the Friend-sponsored panel discussion on legal cannabis, held Sept. 14 at Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

The idea - which developed from several audience comments - is to add opioid recovery to the list of medical conditions in Nevada for which doctors can lawfully prescribe cannabis as treatment.

Chris Giunchigliani, one of the ”What Can Nevada Extract from Cannabis?” panelists, said she will suggest adding opioid recovery to the conditions that qualify a Nevadan to receive a medical marijuana card. She is on the Nevada Marijuana Advisory Panel.

Giunchigliani is also a former Clark County commissioner, Nevada legislator and teachers union leader. All on the Sept. 14 panel had expertise in one or more aspects of Nevada’s now-legalized industry of marijuana both for medical and recreational uses.

The other local panelist, Brandon Weigand, is regional manager for The Source marijuana dispensaries, who handles the company’s regulatory compliance. “We’re an industry willing to be taxed,” said Weigand, who claimed legalized marijuana has already raised “more than a million dollars for the state of Nevada.”

Director of communications Carolyn White represented her employer, Phylos Bioscience, a Portland, OR company that’s breeding new varieties of cannabis and hemp using technologies based on data collected on plant cultivars and patients or users.

Dr. Ruth Fisher, an economist with a doctorate from the University of Chicago with a special interest in healthcare, has co-founded CannDynamics, a California business that’s developing an app to connect medical users of cannabis with specific products best suited to their needs. She also authored “The Medical Cannabis Primer.”

“You get this circularity thing, where people are saying, ‘Well there’s no medical applications [for cannabis] and no one has proven it.’ And the reason they haven’t proven it is they weren’t allowed to study it,” she said on the seeming scarcity to date of high-quality scientific studies on the plant’s characteristics and medical benefits. “The studies on more positive uses are now forthcoming.”

The last panelist, Dr. Jon Norman, is chief scientific officer for Vivero Pharmaceuticals, based in Mumbai, India. He designs and leads clinical trials for Vivero’s proprietary products that deliver cannabidiol, or as popularly known, CBD - a chemical component of cannabis - in a form that’s kept below the tongue while it melts and absorbs.

One of the barriers to availability of medical cannabis, panelists agreed, is the dissonance between the pharmaceutical industry - which insists on testing purified substances with reproducible results - and the ground-roots cannabis industry, which has emphasized benefits of the whole plant, as well as artisan outcomes that vary by specific plant variety or batch - much as wine or beer harvests vary.

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Moderator Jon Ralston with the cannabis panel

Sally Pera, a Friends member who helped recruit both panelists and panel moderator Jon Ralston for the event, said afterward she was pleased that the panel discussion centered on the medical merit of cannabis rather than on current Nevada litigation, with applicants who recently failed to win dispensary licenses now arguing that the selection process was unfair.

Friends event series will tackle timely topics

The cannabis panel launched the Friends’ new “Nevada Then & Now” lecture/panel series. The next event in the series, “Nevada’s Governing Principals: Sandoval, Miller & List Look Back,” will start at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at the museum, to celebrate Nevada Day 2019. Three former governors who live in Nevada will participate. Admission to the series is free with either museum membership, Springs membership, or paid daily Springs admission. Seating is limited.

Fossil Factory Extravaganza

Fossil Factory was a September extravaganza for children and parents, offering videos, crafts, and hands-on fossil exhibits. Check out a Fossil Factory video here.!

241 people signed in for this well-attended event. Families got to "dig" for fossils, play games, and do arts and crafts. Desert Dave made an appearance for one-on-one discussions about fossils.

fossil activity

The Clark County School District, NSMLV, Jobs for Nevada Graduates, and the Friends collaborated to support children's academic success. The Family and Community Engagement (FACES) program within CCSD invited families from all Title 1 schools and FACES Family Engagement Centers to participate. The Friends and the museum provided free admission to the event which was made possible by a grant from Clark County. The grant was awarded to the Friends as part of our museum Community Membership program for students at Title 1 schools.

An objective of FACES is to improve parent and community support to help families support student achievement and attendance. FACES launched Super Saturday workshops to engage families and students. The Fossil Factory event was the first workshop for the fall 2019 semester.

cannabis panel

“Super Saturday is an opportunity for parents, children, and families to gain valuable strategies, educational resources, and other important information to support learning at home,” says Eva Melendrez of FACES. Valley View High School volunteers gave fossil demonstrations, helped with crafts, and other activities. These teen volunteers all participate in the Jobs for Nevada Graduates program.

cannabis panel

Many thanks are due to the following people who made this event possible, but especially to Joan Whitely, Friends Vice President who coordinated the event for the Friends with the assistance of Donna Harper, Education Liaison:

Eva Melendrez - FACES
Ann Wozniak - Jobs for Nevada Graduates
Debbie Palacios - FACES
Cheryl Wagner - CCSD
Kyle Wilson - Jobs for Nevada Graduates
Clark County Outside Agency Grant Program

Rock art on Nellis range at risk for damage

By Joan Whitely (all photos by K. LaPierre)

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Archaeologist Kish LaPierre

Archaeologist Kish LaPierre gets to tread where few people are allowed. She works on unused bombing ranges that serve Nellis Air Force Base to discover, inventory and monitor signs of ancient culture on federal acres controlled by the military.

She spoke Sept. 19 to the Friends of Nevada State Museum Las Vegas about what she’s seen in her civilian role as cultural resources manager for the 99th Civil Engineering Squadron at Nellis. Her type of job is an outgrowth of preservation requirements set by landmark federal laws including the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act and the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act.

The laws were enacted because, in part, valuable archaeology sites were getting destroyed by government projects such the construction of federal highways. In the case of the huge Nevada Test and Training Range just north of Nellis, some of the damage to its cultural sites happened 75 years ago or earlier, LaPierre pointed out. “Some of these [designated training] targets have been there since the 1940s.”

Dry desert protects artifacts

On the other hand, since these military acres have been withdrawn from public use for decades now, LaPierre said she also has been exhilarated to find fragile artifacts undisturbed, including basketry and pots still containing organic material such as fossilized pitch. “The desert is an excellent preserver of perishables,” she explained. “We find thousand-year-old artifacts on the surface, near (rock) shelters. The dryness just protects it.”

LaPierre and those who accompany her on field audits follow Nellis policy, which is to not remove or collect artifacts from the locations where they’re found. She does not do destructive testing or analysis on such finds, either.

A unique feature of Nellis’ cultural management is that its field work always involves members of Indian tribes relevant to the site being studied. “We try to incorporate Native Americans in our surveys. They give us their perspective, and we try to incorporate that into our report,” LaPierre said.

LaPierre’s main interest is prehistoric culture. So she spoke at length to the Friends about rock art found on the Nellis training ranges.

Rock art vs. rock writing

Interestingly, many of Nevada’s Native Americans prefer the term “rock writing” over rock art. To them, she said, “art” connotes a superficial decorative object while rock art is a way of communicating that can convey practical messages as well as spiritual concepts. For example, the recurring bighorn sheep motif means the animal is a “brother” to the Indians, not just a food commodity.

Nevada’s training ranges have numerous archaeological sites, yet LaPierre notes that rock art and other artifacts are less dense here than even at the nearby China Lake federal installation in California. She attributes that to the rugged nature of Nevada’s terrain and climate.

“This is more spread out. I think people were passing through, temporarily,” she explained. Rich sites are often found in spots where rock formations offer small shelters. Even a small alcove can provide shade, making it a “nice area to work a tool, take a break.” The proof is the presence of “middens” near many shelters, which are spots where the soil has been darkened over time by food debris and other forms of human “trash” or waste.

New tech and a long-term goal

Sometimes the archaeologist has to contend with challenging rock art specimens that are either “layers of glyphs upon glyphs” or lines and shapes barely visible. But new technology is helping. Borrowing from medicine, archaeologists can use computer programs to manipulate the visual data in a photo so that faint rock art emerges through color contrasts.

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Before an enhancement, the rock art's strokes and lines are hard to see

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Specialized software manipulates a photo to bring out the artifact's features

One of LaPierre’s goals is to organize and analyze data on the cultural sites she oversees, to find commonalities - perhaps in geology, water presence, sun exposure - in order to develop a predictive model so scientists could steer Nellis bombing exercises away from likely cultural sites, even if they haven’t yet been documented.

Stuff-A-Truck: Send Your Clutter Our Way! We Need Volunteers, Too

Please remember to being your bags or boxes of donated used goods to the Friends Stuff-A-Truck event, which will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 5 (Saturday). The Friends will staff a rental truck parked curbside in the upper parking lot at the Springs Preserve (on the west, toward Valley View Boulevard, rather than near the museum gate). To see what sort of items are best, view the list here of items that Savers will pay us for, by the pound. Then, so we can plan for the volume we'll have to pack, pledge the number of bags/boxes you expect to bring.

stuff a truck items

To make Stuff a Truck a success, adults must staff the collection site and the delivery process to a local Savers. Please, volunteer to spend several balmy hours outdoors sitting on a canvas sling chair and sipping cold beverages. Sign up on our Friends website for a shift. Shifts run until 5 p.m., when we deliver the goods to Savers.

Two Wayfaring Friends Back in Town with New Photo Exhibit

Ron and Diane Dizon, who are charter members of the Friends of Nevada State Museum Las Vegas, periodically feature photography of their world travels at exhibits in local community centers or online. Enjoy Ron's latest digital exhibit, which is a photo retrospective of his experiences in Afghanistan. View it here.

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Photo by Ron Dizon

All events held at the museum and are free with paid admission or membership. No registration required unless otherwise noted. Friends general meetings are the 3rd Thurs. of month. The museum is at 309 S. Valley View Blvd., inside Springs Preserve, LV 89107
Sat Oct 5 9 am - 5 pm Stuff A Truck Fundraiser Friends will collect donations of re-usable used goods in upper parking lot at Springs, then truck to Savers, to be paid a fee based on the poundage of the donations. (All donations must fit in a box or bag – No bicycles, furniture, appliances, baby gear such as car seats or high chairs, etc.) Collections end 3 p.m., but volunteers needed until 5 p.m. Friends event
Thu Oct 17 6-8 pm Friends General Meeting Rebecca Lynn Palmer, State Historic Preservation Officer, will speak about historic markers in Clark County Friends event
Sat Oct 26 2-4pm Nevada Then and Now “NV's Governing Principals: List, Miller & Sandoval Look Back.” Three former governors who live in S. Nevada will discuss their memories & conclusions about leading state government. Friends event

To see the complete schedule for the year, please go to our Events page.

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