Trish Geran, author of “Beyond the Glimmering Lights: Pride and Perseverance of African Americans in Las Vegas,” is the featured guest at the May 18 general meeting of the Friends.

     Her book combines a memoir about her Aunt Magnolia with a history of the Las Vegas black community.

     Geran will talk about Las Vegas’ “Westside” — which is short-hand for a central district in the Las Vegas Valley that was traditionally inhabited by blacks — and about the F Street Project, a successful efforts to re-open F Street, an artery into the Westside neighborhood, which had been closed off by road design.



     From the comfort of home, you can help the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas convert its card catalog from index cards to an online searchable database!

     All you need is a computer, Internet service and awareness of the steps for transcribing. You can work for a few minutes, only, and still be contributing to this important upgrade. An online database will help people doing historical research.

     One intrepid volunteer has already transcribed more than 900 of the old handwritten cards. That means only about 229,000 more cards to go!


     Manuscripts Curator Crystal Van Dee goes step by step on the transcribing process in the video.


     Fourth-grade pupils at Priest Elementary School in North Las Vegas toured the museum, thanks to the Friends, who underwrote the transportation cost of the April 20 field trip.

     Education Curator Stacy Irvin used several Friend volunteers to handle the large group. In the galleries, pupils filled out worksheets based on their observations of the artifacts and displays. In the education classroom, they did additional activities.



     At our next general meeting on April 20, curator Crystal Van Dee will introduce us to the museum’s library, which she manages. Its holdings include old newspapers, maps and manuscripts.

     In addition, she will explain a crowd-sourcing project that will launch soon, in which members of the public will help transcribe the library’s card catalog into electronic form. This will enable researchers to use the catalog even if they are away from the museum.

The project will allow volunteers to transcribe at home, using their own computer, at any time they like! Even taking five minutes to transcribe a single index card will be a valuable service.

Van Dee calls her photo, above right, a “shelfie” because much of the library’s research material is boxed on shelves.



     An important way of laying the groundwork for Friends growth is to visit other organizations and explain what the Friends do. On April 7, museum Director Dennis McBride spoke to the Mesquite Club, a women’s volunteer organization, about the state museum’s history and mission. Along the way, he also described the role that the Friends play in supporting the museum. Officers Mary Savage and Joan Whitely were present and brought Friends brochures to pass out.

     After McBride’s remarks, the attendees enjoyed tea. One woman who is part of both the Mesquite Club and the Friends is Betty Miller, whose portrait appears below.


     April is Paleontology Awareness Month in Nevada. To celebrate, Dr. Stephen Rowland will present a lecture on fossil mammoths. Join us to hear what scientists are learning from the latest research on these animals, and what it tells us about life in Southern Nevada during the Pleistocene Ice Age.

     This program is free with museum membership or paid general admission. Please email or call 702-822-8746 for more information.

     Dr. Stephen Rowland is a professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His primary work is in the areas of paleontology, paleo-ecology, stratigraphy and the history of geology.


     The Friends made numerous contacts with the general public on Saturday (April 1) by managing a booth at the Springs Preserve annual spring plant sale. We gave away seed packets. We also raised some funds through the raffle of a bag of garden-themed supplies. Our new table banner got its first workout.