NORTH FORK – The Sierra Mono Museum (SMM) is starting the first major renovation and expansion of its over five-decade history, made possible by a $605,000 federal grant awarded to the Museum’s fiscal sponsor/partner, the North Fork Rancheria.
The Museum closed its main North Fork facility’s doors in mid-April for approximately one year for construction.
An Open House scheduled for Friday, May 11, from 4 to 7 p.m., will celebrate the opening of a temporary museum display and gift shop location nearby to accommodate visitors on a reduced scale. Plans for the renovation and new museum will be shared with the public at the interim facility located next to Pizza Factory in the town of North Fork.
In addition, the Museum plans to launch several innovative joint-venture and outreach programs with local tourism partners to ensure local students, neighbors, and visiting can continue enjoying an authentic glimpse into Native traditions, culture, and ways of life during the facility improvements.
“For over half a century, without interruption, the Museum has carried forward its promise to protect, preserve, and share precious Western Mono culture and practices,” said Museum Vice-Chair Sharon Carter.
“We are delighted to work alongside the Museum to ensure visitors have continuous access to the Museum’s renown collections of Mono and Native Californian cultural artifacts and preserved California native fauna as they build a modern, state of the art facility for generations to come,” added Rhonda Salisbury, CEO of Visit Yosemite Madera County.
The Museum plans to institute the following outreach and community programs during facility construction –
Interim museum and gift shop:
To be located in the North Fork Shopping Center (33171 Rd. 222 #3 next to Pizza Factory) with tours and visits available during most regular Museum hours (call to confirm availability 559-877-2115).
Inbound school trips:
Consolidated collection viewing, elder and video interpretive presentations, and outdoor interpretive docents talks and walks. (Needs-based grants available).
Outbound school visit:
Condensed “Mobile Mono Museum” brought to classrooms. Call to reserve a visit.
Temporary Satellite (Off-site) Museum Displays:
Look for the “Mini Mono Museums” containing select collection items at local partner sites, including the Madera Fossil Discovery Center, Madera County Government Center, Visit Yosemite Madera County Visitors Center, and Fresno International Airport.
Community Parades and Festivals:
The Museum and North Fork Tribe will continue their tradition of participating in community events such as the Flatlanders Parade, Pomegranate Festival, Oakhurst Fall Festival, North Fork Loggers Jamboree and the Museum’s own Annual Indian Fair Days and Powwow.
Reciprocal Museum Membership:
Enjoy a special Mono Ambassador rate ($100/year for family of four) and automatically gain ‘reciprocal’ membership privileges to a network of over 945 arts, cultural, and historical institutions, botanical gardens, children’s museums, science, and technology centers across North America – with nearly 150 facilities in California alone (see list of participating organizations at NARMAssociation.org).
For more information, please visit www.SierraMonoMuseum.org.
(Photo credit Visit Yosemite Madera County)
More about the Sierra Mono Museum and the Western Mono:
• The Sierra Mono Museum (SMM) was incorporated in 1966 as a nonprofit institution when it began assembling its collections. The Museum acquired land for its facility in 1970 and opened its doors the next year. Since then, it has maintained a steady base of 200-300 dues-paying members, met the standards as a Federal Repository for archive documents and artifacts from federal lands, and remained a member in good standing with the National Museum Association.
• SMM is active throughout the year with cultural activities open to the public, including basketry making, beading, native plant identification and uses, Mono storytelling, and events such as the annual membership dinner, powwow, and open house.
• In September 2017, the SMM received a U.S. HUD grant of $605,000 to renovate and expand the museum structure. In partnership the North Fork Rancheria, the Museum also kicked off a two year “Half Century Capital Campaign” to raise an additional $625,000 for display/exhibit structures, collection curation and management, and educational outreach program development. The capital campaign will conclude mid 2019 with a charity golf tournament and Gala Dinner (sponsorships available).
• The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution (Tax ID # 23-7088139) and covers it costs mainly through private donations, modest museum entrance and membership fees, and proceeds from annual events. Memberships and/or donations may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please join us in supporting this cultural gem of the Central Sierra as we embark on a second half-century of curating the traditions and artifacts of the Western Mono people.