Physical Address:
625 Esplanade
(near  Bidwell Mansion)
Chico CA

Mailing Address:
College of Natural Sci.
CSU, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0545


Gateway Connection Newsletter Fall 2011

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view seismometer First and second graders from Nord Country School learn about the seismometer in the Gateway's Demonstration Laboratory with docent Andrew Wilding (Fall 2011).



watermelon globe Zeitoun





Explore: A Closer Look

In the Galleries

Pasts Tents, The Hunt for Treasure! & Earth as Art 3 will be in the galleries until Jan 1, 2012.

Did you know that for every exhibit at the Gateway Science Museum, extra care, life and attention to detail are added once the exhibits arrive? Docents, professors, local professionals and volunteers of all kinds contribute to adding regional relevance and interest.

Jess photos

Twenty-three year old Jessica Edmunson is studying animal sciences at CSU, Chico. A dedicated docent, camp counselor and exhibits assistant at Gateway Science Museum since May of 2010, Jessica is part of the "team" that researches and develops supplemental and interactive elements to make each exhibit more engaging and directly relevant to Northern California.

"It's really fun," Jessica said. Putting together items for the Past Tents exhibit "really brought the historic photographs of the exhibit to life." The real-life objects such as bedrolls, blankets, long underwear, camping trunks, tools, and campfire pots, that fill out the camping scenes in the exhibit include vintage gear from local individuals, families and even the Sierra Club. "Everyone loves objects they can handle and interact with," Jessica pointed out. One recent weekday morning, a group of young visitors took all the pots and pans out of the trunk of camping equipment and set up a camp of their own in one corner of the gallery. One of them walked to fill the canteen from an imaginary river nearby, while the others collected imaginary firewood and began to prepare the pretend campfire.

Among other interactive displays, Past Tents includes a camp-chair reading corner developed by Jessica, complete with flickering lantern light; two knot-tying activities for boot laces and fishing lines developed by docent Kyle Norton; and a make-your-own topographical map activity.

The Hunt for Treasure is organized by NRG! Exhibits; Past Tents: The Way We Camped is from Exhibit Envoy, the California Historical Society, Bancroft Library & Heyday Books; Earth as Art Three images are courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA. Thank you to our fall sponsors Certified Systems and Garey & Barbara Weibel.

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In the Gardens

Sustainability Garden

The gardens around Gateway Science Museum are exhibits in themselves and integral to the museum's mission. Beyond the native plant ecoregions-based landscapes, for which more programs are currently in development, have you had a chance to see the new raised bed edible gardens?

Over the past few months, Abby Roche, student director of Gateway Science Museum Sustainability Gardens & community nutrition assistant for the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP), has planned, planted, tended, harvested and planted again four unique raised demonstration vegetable beds. Using sustainable gardening practices and techniques including the raised beds themselves, low-water drip irrigation, composting, integrated pest management, and companion planting, to name a few, Abby is steering the Gateway Gardens toward being a teaching garden destination for nutrition advocates, gardeners, and foodies alike.

On October 22, 2011 from noon – 4 pm, the Gateway Sustainability Gardens will host a festive Welcome Event Open Garden to introduce the Sustainability Garden project and celebrate its educational future. The day will feature lots of activities for families, as well as live music, refreshments and plenty of garden fun for all.

For more information or to get involved in the edible gardens, contact Abby at 530-898-5323 or

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Interpret: Dig Deeper

Fall 2011 MWOW: Treasures of the North State

What do members and friends of Gateway Science Museum treasure? Education, Fun, Community, and the Natural Treasures of Northern California.

Every fall and spring, the Gateway Science Museum and its supporters host the theme-based lecture series Museum Without Walls (MWOW). This fall, the series theme is Treasures of the North State.

Arlene Ward of the Mechoopda-Maidu Tribe, along with Kim Ornellas of CSU, Chico will be speaking on the Nome Cult Walk in the final lecture of the fall MWOW lecture series. The lecture will be on Wednesday, October 26, at the CARD Center in Chico, 545 Vallombrosa Ave. Doors open at 7pm, presentations begin at 7:30 and last about an hour.

Look for information about the spring 2012 MWOW series after the new year!

Thank you to the fall MWOW series sponsors: John and Renée McAmis, Garey and Barbara Weibel, Marcia Moore, M.D., Gary and Judy Sitton, Joan Stewart, Candy Solari, and Diane Anderson.


Arlene Ward of the Mechoopda-Maidu Tribe, and Mechoopda cultural coordinator for many years, is a 2004 graduate of CSU, Chico in anthropology with a certificate in Museum Studies.

Arlene will be one of two participants in the final lecture of GSM’s fall MWOW lecture series on Wednesday, Oct. 26. She and documentary film maker Kim Ornellas will share personal experiences of the annual Nome Cult Walk. This is an annual gathering of people who come together to remember ancestors, “our great grandmothers and grandfathers,” on the original forced march and relocation in 1863 and to “Honor Their Memory…A Path Not Forgotten,” described Arlene in a recent interview. “The 1863 relocation of California Indian people to the Round Valley Reservation on a forced 100-mile march forever separated families, resulted in many Native American deaths, and caused many to become ill and be mercilessly left along the way.”  

Arlene described the event: “Each year relations come from far and wide to walk and remember. During the week-long event, we camp and eat and socialize and walk together to honor the ancestors. While this might seem like past history to the wider community, this is personal history to the Native American communities in Northern California.”

She sees Native American involvement in such events as MWOW as an important forum to “remind the wider community that issues and modern decisions continue to impact the traditional way of life and the environmental integrity of the land so critical to the identity of California Indian people. The living history, culture, traditions, ceremonies, natural history, and even language are all aspects of who we are, wrapped up in where we came from. We are connected to the past and informing the future. The forum provides a reminder to the greater audience that a living cultural community continues today in traditional knowledge and practice relevant to today’s decisions and issues.”  

The Nome Cult Walk and Ornellas’ documentary about the Mechoopda are part of the history and culture of Northern California—for all Northern Californians.

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Ignite! Green Museum Initiative

Ignite! logo

On Oct. 14, Gateway Science Museum was honored to be one of seven host sites across California to host a day of discussion on how museums can inform their communities about environmental challenges and inspire action. The event helped institutions discuss top environmental challenges for regions around the state, identify who is addressing these challenges, and how museums can be involved in communicating issues and solutions to the general public.

Discussions were part of a statewide initiative, Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability. The goals were for each site to explore the fundamental ecological issues facing their region and to seek ways in which museums can be partners in finding solutions to these challenges. Seven concurrent discussions were connected virtually online, with Gateway Science Museum hosting the Northern California region. Environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author Paul Hawken gave the keynote address.

Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability is spearheaded by the Green Museums Initiative (GMI), a program supported by the California Association of Museums (CAM).

The regional roundtables took place at seven host institutions: Annenberg Center at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage; San Diego Zoo; Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach; University of California, Merced Library; California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco; Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences; and Gateway Science Museum in Chico, with participants from the Chico area, Redding, Arcata, Ukiah and more.

Each site convened museum leaders, scientists, environmentalists, community stakeholders, and artists to discuss how to preserve ecosystems and promote healthy communities in their region. Artists participating in the regional roundtable discussions will create artworks for a statewide traveling exhibition by Exhibit Envoy.

The purpose of GMI is to inspire California museums to develop green business practices, eco-friendly facility management, and sustainable programming. GMI is embarking on this new initiative to look outwardly at what is happening locally and regionally to solve environmental challenges and support the civic engagement of museums with the needs and interests of their communities.

CAM, founded in 1979, is a nonprofit service organization formed to represent the interests of California museums. CAM’s mission is to “Lead California Museums to the Future,” and core programs focus on developing relevant and effective organizations for the benefit of our state’s citizens. There are over 1,400 museums in California, with CAM institutional members in almost every county. California’s museums are as diverse as the communities in which they are found and include historical societies, cultural centers, art museums, botanical gardens, science centers, tribal museums, zoos, aquariums, and children’s museums.

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NASA Space Place


Stargazers, have you checked out Gateway Science Museum’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Place in the Valley Gallery? Updated monthly, the display provides the most recent information about NASA-developed technology and programs! It works well in conjunction with the NASA Space Place website, which has activities and interesting information for families interested in space, astronomy, and planetary sciences.

NASA Space Place is a joint effort by local institutions like Gateway Science Museum, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and International Technology and Engineering Education Association.

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Celebrate: Make Connections

An Evening to Treasure

Gateway Science Museum is excited to announce our inaugural fall event on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.  The event planning committee, a group of more than 15 dedicated volunteers, has spent close to 1,000 hours thus far in preparation, and the evening promises to be delightful and delicious. Held in Bell Memorial Union ballroom on the California State University, Chico campus, the event will celebrate our successes as well as share our future needs during a unique and fun evening.

The museum's staff, volunteers, and Community Advisory Board members hope you will join in raising the much-needed funds to provide the museum's future exhibits. Even with the wonderful advantage of being on the CSU, Chico campus and the generous support of local sponsors, Gateway still needs your support to continue the mission of bringing new and exciting interactive exhibits to the students and families of Northern California.

We are asking for your support of this important educational venue in Northern California by attending the Evening to Treasure, becoming an event sponsor, or donating an item for auction during the event.

For tickets, please call 898-4121. For more information, click here or call Candy Solari (891-0180) or Renée McAmis (343-1042), event chairwomen.

Treasure Event

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Earth as Art and Chico's 2011-2012 Book in Common

Hurricane Katrina

When Gateway’s acting director and resident physical volcanologist, Rachel Teasdale, discovered that the 2011–2012 Book in Common for Chico would be Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun, the story of a Syrian-American family in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she saw a connection between the book and one of Gateway Science Museum’s fall exhibits.

Earth as Art Three, now in the museum’s James W. Cornyn Valley Gallery, is a collection of Landsat images taken from space, which offer a unique way to view our planet and its many natural wonders. For the exhibit, Rachel requested the inclusion of multiple satellite images of Hurricane Katrina as well as information on the structure of hurricanes. Using actual footage from Katrina, an in-depth video presentation illustrates and explains the remarkable amount and range of timely and potentially-life-saving data collected by satellites during even such catastrophic weather events.

“Connections between natural history, science, and our community make science come to life in a powerful and useful way—that’s Gateway’s passion and hope—to bring science to life for visitors,” explained Rachel. 

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Get Involved

visitor camping experience

Good to know: In September 2011, over 800 visitors explored Gateway Science Museum’s fall exhibits, including over 300 2nd through 6th graders from Oroville, Forest Ranch, Paradise, and Chico, who explored and discovered treasures of their own.

School groups and classrooms from all over the region visit the museum on field trips many weekday mornings. Want to schedule a group field trip? Email Mary Brownell, administrative assistant, or call 530-898-4121

Gateway Science Museum welcomes volunteers in all aspects of the museum’s work. It’s inspiring, educational, and FUN! Want to be involved? Email Jennifer Jewell, volunteer coordinator, or call 530-898-3273.

Photo: Visitor Dominique spends a few moments sharing an early camping story.

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