Highlights: September 2015

September 2015 Wrap-up

Thank you, volunteers: The Institute of Texan Cultures recently honored its docents at an appreciation luncheon. The museum has 140 active docents, who contributed 24,567 service hours to the museum last year. At an estimated value of $22.14 per hour, that would be $543,913, if the museum had to provide that staffing on its own.

Docent of the Year: Congratulations to Linda Moyer, ITC’s Docent of the Year. Linda accumulated 579 service hours between leading tours for young students, interpretation in the Native American area, weekend and family programs, and office assistance. Thank you for all you do, Linda!

Serving you better: The Institute of Texan Cultures is implementing new technology behind the scenes. The Altru computer system can manage day-to-day needs such as ticketing and event registration, scheduling tours and reserving spaces in teacher workshops. Altru will become the backbone for museum functions such as online communications, membership tracking, philanthropic giving and more.

New information and ideas: Many ITC staff members have been to conferences and training opportunities in the past month. Events include the Texas Travel Industry Association’s annual conference in San Antonio and travel to Indianapolis for the MuseumNext conference at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Welcome, foreign dignitaries: The Institute of Texan Cultures recently welcomed President Takeshi Matsuda of Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, and his wife Keiko, who were visiting UTSA. A historian by training, Matsuda enjoyed everything the museum had to offer and particularly enjoyed the many ways ITC had to engage students and teach topics in history and cultures.

Welcome, city leaders: Mayor Ivy Taylor had expressed interest in visiting the Los Tejanos exhibit earlier this summer and found an opening in her schedule to make it happen. ITC’s director of education and interpretation, Lupita Barrera, gave the mayor a personal tour of the exhibit and detailed how it represents a new way of looking at history and culture – thematically – an approach being considered for the entire exhibit floor.

Access to Excellence: The ITC offered two free days in September, including Free Second Sunday and Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day Live! Between the two events, the museum welcomed more than 500 museum visitors, free of charge. This emulates UTSA’s and Smithsonian’s philosophies that citizens should always have access to education and the cultural treasures their institutions have been entrusted to preserve and present.

New to the team: Alex Antram comes to the ITC Education & interpretation Department as an Education Specialist. She joins us from Mitchell Lake Audubon Center where she focused on outdoor education and community outreach. A life-long learner, she is pursuing a doctorate in anthropology from UTSA.

Extra hands: The Education & Interpretation department welcomes part-time employee Jami Tallent. Originally from Santa Fe, with a degree in fine art from the University of New Mexico, Jami has spent the last two years in San Antonio working as a substitute teacher for Northside ISD and is currently pursuing a second degree in statistics from UTSA.

Across Texas: Educator Greg Garret spent a day in Halletsville for Kolache Fest and Joe Contreras had duties at Pioneer Day in Dripping Springs. The museum is getting back to state-wide travel and outreach efforts and our representatives have come across several small towns where ITC’s name and efforts are remembered with great appreciation. These communities are looking forward to rekindling their relationships with the museum and accessing the many educational resources ITC has to offer.

ITC Travels: The Education and Interpretation team spent a day Laredo and the surrounding communities, visiting the Webb County Heritage Foundation, Webb County Historical Commission members, the City Manager of Roma and a Historical Commission member from Roma. In addition, they visited with various school administrators in the area to detail programs such as distance learning, traveling exhibits online resources and traveling trunks available through the museum. These trips are laying the foundation for the revival of the ITC ambassadors program.

Teaching the teachers: ITC welcomed 43 pre-service teachers in September. The UTSA students, studying for degrees in education, learned about using museum materials, first person accounts and historic documents in the classroom, with appropriate lessons for grades K to high school. Students at Angelo State University had a similar experience, as ITC’s Christian Clark spent a day at the San Angelo campus. The start of the fall semester also marked the beginning of a museum studies class at UTSA. Bryan Howard, ITC’s director of exhibits and research, is the instructor for this inaugural class of 27 students. The ITC was their first field trip of the semester.

Now open: ITC opened "Our Part of Victory: Texans in World War II" on Sept. 2, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, ending World War II. Great effort went into development and artifact acquisition for the exhibit, with items coming from across Texas, Louisiana, Oregon, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and even one piece all the way from Germany.

In the Community: Bexar Country approached the ITC to begin work on "Nuestra Historia - Our Story: Spain in Bexar County." A celebration of the recent World Heritage Site declaration for the Spanish Missions, the exhibit, which will show at the county courthouse, opens Oct. 16, with a second component opening at the Federal Reserve building in February. The exhibit features reproductions of early documents having to do with the commissioning of the missions and establishment of San Antonio. A partnership with the Spanish government has made it possible to acquire and display these cultural treasures.
 
 

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