Department of Cultural Affairs

DCA’s WoW Mobile Museum: Arts, Culture, History and Science on the Move Needs Your Support!

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Remember the Van of Enchantment? It’s back & better than ever! And coming to public libraries for summer programming!

New Mexico’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCA) Mobile Museum is 300 square feet of arts, culture, history, and science exhibits and curriculum based programming on wheels. Known affectionately as the Wonders on Wheels (or WOW!), the 38 foot RV will  carry carefully curated exhibits to public schools throughout New Mexico, most of them remote, underserved, and under-resourced . The exciting hands-on exhibits will provide a rich, experiential curriculum delivered by trained educators who engage students in diverse subject matters ranging from New Mexico history to folk, native  and fine arts, natural history, space science, and more.  This unparalleled out-of-the-classroom experience will provide a critical museum based educational experience to students who live too far away from, or don’t otherwise have  access to DCA museums and historic sites.

The Mobile Museum exhibits will be sourced from DCA establishments with the same curators, educators, and designers that we use in our museums, creating the experience. Each of the following museums will build a WoW exhibit that will travel throughout New Mexico for one year:  the NM Museum of Natural History & Science, the Museum of Fine Art, the NM History Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, NM Historic Sites, and the NM Museum of Space History.  The WoW program will partner  and make stops at  New Mexico’s public libraries during the summer for full family programming.

Educational Impact 

  • The Mobile Museum will serve up to 15,000 school children each year in all 33 counties of New Mexico, prioritizing elementary schools in remote and rural communities that have little or no access to museums.
  • We will prioritize schools that are the lowest academic performers.
  • The Mobile Museum directly connects the resources and educational opportunities of New Mexico’s Department of Cultural Affairs with New Mexicans statewide.
  • Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills.
  • Arts learning improves motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. A 2005report by the Rand Corporation argues that the art experience “can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing,” creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion. WoW2

Purpose of a Mobile Museum

  • Engage diverse, rural, and underserved populations in active, hands-on learning experiences across cultural and scientific disciplines.
  • Share the inspiration and rich educational material of NM’s state museums and historic sites statewide.
  • Take museum exhibits to rural populations to encourage life-long learning and deepen community understanding of shared history and culture.
  • Build statewide appreciation for museums and historic sites throughout New Mexico.
  • Broaden standards-based education activities for school-aged children utilizing the vast collections of DCA museums.

We Need Your Support

Write a letter to your legislator! Show your support of the Governor’s FY’17  Executive Budget Request for DCA which will allow for over $100,000 in private matching funds for this program. Additionally, the Public Education Department has endorsed this program. The exhibits and outreach costs are funded through grants and individuals donations.

About Ryanne

Ryanne Cooper, Assistant State Librarian, Bureau Chief of Library Development Services New Mexico State Library, is highly interested in what you are doing at your library! Contact her to share your story.

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