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The National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Humanities Council are boosting “Virtual Learning Experiences” at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum with a $4,000 grant.
The Las Cruces museum will purchase video equipment with the funds, according to Lisa Pugh, the museum’s deputy director in charge of programs. The equipment will be used to produce educational content.
Pugh said the equipment will be purchased this month, and staff will begin producing programs right away.
“Most will be introduced in early fall, when schools are back in session, so we can share with the students,” Pugh said. “Really, we will have educational material for all ages. We’ll be doing adult programming, as well trying to take as many of our programs online as possible.”
One of the programs coming up will be “Stories from the past.” Pugh said the museum has been collecting oral histories for more than 20 years and recently received another grant to digitize those files.
As a part of the museum’s mission to collect and preserve the agricultural heritage of New Mexico, the museum implemented an oral-history program in the mid-1990s. The program includes the systematic collection of people's recollections of their life experiences with farming, ranching and rural life. This collection is a major component in exploring and interpreting these subjects for visitors and researchers. Producers will incorporate these voices from the past with appropriate imagery to create short video presentations.
“The potential is limitless, so we are very excited about it,” she said. “Some [of the people interviewed] are still alive, some are not. We will be able to incorporate the voices from the past.”
Other projects that may come out of the virtual plan include things like a virtual tutorial on making butter; virtual tours of the exhibitions and livestock areas like “Cattle Breeding in New Mexico from the Territorial Period to the Present; a virtual tour of the current “Home on the Range: From Ranches to Rockets” exhibit on the development of the nation’s first missile range in the midst of World War II.
“We have a fabulous design team and they are just dying to get into this virtual world,” Pugh said.
For more information visit www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org.