Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the
Hi-Desert Nature Museum

Mickey SorcererFamily Fun Day - Wizards & Magic!

Enjoy a magical day of family fun at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum! Enter the wizardly world of a sorcerer's workshop for a day of activities and hands-on crafts for kids of all ages.  Face painting, magic wand making, and potion mixing will be part of the fun.  Costumes welcome and souvenir photographs will be available.
Joel Ward, MAGICIAN EXTRAORDINAIRE, will perform in the Yucca Room at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. 
This event will include a QUIDDITCH TOURNAMENT!  Contact the museum at (760) 369-7212 or museum@yucca-valley.org if you are interested in signing up to play.  Age divisions will be assigned.
Saturday, February 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
This event is FREE and will keep the whole family enchanted for hours!
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Desert Iguana Being HeldCritter Club!

Do you love the museum's mini-zoo animals and wish you could get up close and personal with some of them?  Now you can!  The museum will be holding a Critter Club event with Museum Biologist Stefanie Ritter.  Touch some of the mini-zoo residents while you learn about local animals and how they adapt to the harsh desert environment.  Follow with a fun hands-on craft led by Museum Educator Crystal Mason.
Monday, January 16 (Martin Luther King Holiday)
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
$5 per adult, $2 per child age 15 and under
(paid at the door, no pre-registration required)
Museum members are FREE!
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Mehndi Woman
Woman with Mehndi Designs

Eye of the Beholder: Beauty & Culture

Curator's Lecture & Henna Artist

The human body is a unique canvas that has been decorated in many ways for millennia by people all over the world.  Since the beginning of human history, people have embellished their bodies for many reasons, and there is no known culture in which people do not paint, pierce, tattoo, reshape, or simply adorn their bodies.  Body art carries powerful messages about the decorated person.  Colors, designs and the use of particular techniques are part of a visual language with specific cultural meanings.
Exhibition on display through March 1
Curator's Lecture, Thursday, January 19, Noon to 1:00 p.m.
A henna artist will be available from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. to create temporary henna tattoos (mehndi) for visitors
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Science SaturdaysChemistry
Join us for days of discovery during Science Saturdays.  These programs will ignite your children's curiosity by presenting information and performing experiments relating to biological and physical sciences.  All programs will be facilitated by our Museum Educator.  It is recommended that children be of school age for this program.

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.
FREE!  No pre-registration required
January 21:  Chemical Reactions
February 4: The Human Brain 
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1st Wednesday ProgramMcChesney Mojave
David Jesse McChesney, author of "Miles of Wonder" and "Muir Roots," returns to the Hi-Desert Nature Museum with a visual presentation and lecture on the wonders of the Mojave Desert, part of the Morongo Basin Historical Society 1st Wednesday programs.  David has spent years capturing the natural grandeur, plant life and extraordinary wildlife found in this famed desert.  David will talk about Mojave Desert offerings and off the beaten path "special places."  
Wednesday, February 1, starting at 5:30 p.m.
$5 donation to the MBHS at the door 
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Support the MuseumBrick Plaque
The museum has two active fundraising campaigns to enable us to continue providing quality educational programs and exhibitions for residents and visitors.  Help preserve our local history, art, culture, and natural science by becoming a museum member, or purchase a copper plaque to mount at the entry way of the museum with your personalized engraved inscription.  Information on these programs is available at the museum's reception desk or on our web site.
Visit Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter @HiDesertMuseum!
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King Arthur & MerlinMedieval Knight
King Arthur is a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.  The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore, and his historical existence is debated by modern historians.  Arthur developed as a literary figure through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful 12th century History of the Kings of Britain.  Some tales about Arthur date from earlier than this work, depicting him as a great warrior.  Many elements of Arthur's modern legend were part of Geoffrey's story including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, and the final battle against Mordred.  French writer Chretien de Troyes added Lancelot, the Round Table and the Holy Grail to Arthur's legend.  In Geoffrey's work Arthur is depicted as a great and ferocious warrior, who laughs as he kills witches and giants.  In later works, Arthur takes a lesser role and the focus switches to other characters such as Lancelot, Guinevere, Galahad, Gawain, Tristan, and Isolde.  To create the character of Merlin the wizard (Merlin Ambrosius), Geoffrey of Monmouth combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt, a prophet and madman also known as Merlinus Caledonensis, with tales of the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus.  Merlin is traditionally depicted as born of a mortal woman and supernatural father, from whom he inherits his magical powers.  The development of the Arthur romance culminated in Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomas Mallory's 15th century retelling of the entire legend in a single work.  In the early 19th century Romanticism and the Gothic Revival reawakened interest in Arthur and medieval romances.  The fascination with Arthur continues to this day, inspiring books, movies, poetry, and stage productions. 
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Sutter's Mill

January 24th marks the anniversary of gold being discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California.  Word of gold spread quickly and brought gold seekers from all over the world.  Called "forty-niners" (as a reference to the year 1849), miners faced many hardships.  At first, gold was recovered from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning.  More sophisticated methods were later developed, requiring significant financial investment, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners.  Gold worth tens of billions of today's dollars was recovered.  However, the wealth was enjoyed by few and many miners returned home with little more than when they started.  The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial.  In 1849 a state constitution was written and California became a state in 1850.  Roads, churches, schools, and towns were built throughout California.  New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service.  By 1869, railroads were built across the country.  Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the increasing population.  The Gold Rush also had negative effects.  Besides causing environmental harm, Native Americans were attacked and removed from their lands, as well as dying from exposure to new diseases.
Visit the Museum
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is located in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex at 57116 Twentynine Palms Highway.  The museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free; donations support the educational mission of the museum.  The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is operated by the Town of Yucca Valley.
For more information on our programs and events contact the museum at (760) 369-7212 or visit our web site at www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org  
To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs and recreation classes visit the Town's web site at www.yucca-valley.org