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309 S. Valley View Blvd., LV, 89107
inside Springs Preserve

“Kindness Rock” Fairy Door Comes to the Museum

The Nevada State Museum adds a new entrance to fun and enlightenment called a Fairy Door. What is that, you ask?

A fairy door is most often a miniature door set into the base of a tree, bush, building, etc. In research, fairy doors have typically been built to allow fairies to come into our world. Finding magic in the everyday is an important theme. Lore says that you can leave notes at certain doors for fairies to send ideas for children “to be their own hero in life. Some fairy doors accumulate piles of “treasures” that people have left for the fairies and for children who visit. You may take one of these treasures, but lore states that you must then replace the treasure with a gift of your own. The goal is to provide a smile, a kindness, a thought, a remembrance, or just a positive statement.

You can also place painted rocks outside of the fairy door. This practice is essentially an aesthetic extension of Hide-and-Seek, and, depending upon where you live, the painted rocks practice has also been called, “Kindness Rocks”, “Traveling Rocks”, “Rocks of Love”, and “Painted Rocks”. Anyone can become involved in this wonderful game. You simply paint rocks any way you like, then leave them practically anywhere (outside of a store, dentist’s office, tree, sidewalk, another state or country etc.). The finder may keep it or rehide the rocks.

Nevada Rock
Nevada Rocks

Ice Cream Rock
A Very Cool Rock

In Las Vegas, fairy doors are prevalent in many of the city parks. Rock groups (found on Facebook, Pinterest etc.) keep lists of fairy doors and explain how to get started in rock painting. When asking painters about their motivation for painting, they all basically say that their goals are to give joy, to give children and adults motivation to get out and explore their environment, and to share their art. Also, it just feels good.

“Galinda’s Fairy Door” was recently installed in the Education Room at the Museum. It will be a “rock only” door due to space constraints. The Education Room is always open on Saturdays for children to explore. Depending upon the number of volunteers, the room may remain open on other days. In October, the museum will add a rock painting station in the Education Room. This will allow anyone to create a rock treasure of their own to keep or trade at the fairy door. We encourage rock painters (AKA Rockers) to visit our new door.

Fairy Door
Galinda's Fairy Door

For further information on rock painting, check out these books:

You may also visit these sites:

Here are a couple more painted rocks from the many creative ones you can discover:


Profile: Stacy Irvin, Curator of Education

By Joan Whitely

Fairy Door

Stacy Irvin

When Stacy Irvin arrived at the museum for a short-term internship in 2006, little did she know she’d still be at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas 12 years later, as a permanent employee.

In 2006, Irvin was earning her master’s degree from UNLV in biology and had planned to focus her internship directly on science; Her master’s studies were in the arcane area of plant physiological ecology, which translated to layman’s terms, is how a plant functions in relation to its environment.

But at the museum, Irvin frequently ended up helping the then-curator of education, Barbara Slivac, and quickly found she enjoyed interacting with young people.

“I’d been doing (hard outdoor) field work. … I learned it’s fun talking to people about science in air conditioning,” she said with a chuckle.

After Slivac retired, Irvin successfully applied in 2009 for the curator of education job. At the time, the museum was still located in its original, smaller building in Lorenzi Park, where the education program had no dedicated space. So when she helped the museum move to new quarters at the Springs Preserve in 2011, she was thrilled with the custom-designed classroom for educational activities.

Her colleagues at other local museums are “all really jealous of my space,” she admits.

Her colleagues at other local museums are “all really jealous of my space,” she admits.

Originally from Yucca Valley in California, Irvin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Fullerton. To move from UNLV academia to the museum setting, she earned a certificate from the Public Lands Institute in environmental education and interpretation.

The rewards of her job are many, according to Irvin.

One of her favorite curator memories is the girl who came up to her after browsing the galleries and said, “I think this must be what heaven is like.”

Also, Irvin has, repeatedly, encountered teachers on field trips with pupils who point to a particular child and remark to the effect that “Johnny is usually one of my worst students. … But he’s so engaged today.”

During the school year, Irvin mostly coordinates class field trips to the museum, using Friend volunteers such as Nancy Brady to guide the children through the galleries. In summer her main responsibility is designing hands-on activities for families who happen to wander into the classroom on Saturdays. This past summer she covered such as topics as fossil finding, mapping, the insect world, and the seasons in the desert.

It’s not difficult, she says, to reach both adults and youngsters with the same activity. “They’re usually here because they want to spend time together.”

Donna Harper, another Friend, who is an educator with 40 years of experience also volunteers in Irvin’s classroom. She says Irvin plans fun activities that are “multi-dimensional.” She praises Irvin for fostering “the idea that museums are a great place to discover, and they change all the time.”

As her time as curator has passed, Irvin has gained additional insight into child psychology through the birth of her own daughter, Grace, who is now a 6-year-old first-grader. “I’ve definitely learned from her how kids ‘work.’ I’m definitely better” as an educator for being a parent, too.

Fairy Door

Stacy with her daughter, Grace

And Grace, in turn, has a wonderful playground on the days that she’s dropped off after school at the museum. Irvin herself sometimes spent the after-school hours in the doctor’s office where her mom worked. But Grace “just has the run of the museum.” As a result, Irvin says with a bit of pride, her 6-year-old “can give a pretty good tour.”

Rayette Martin Speaks About Protection of Nevada's Cultural Resources

By Dave Ford

Rayette Martin

The September meeting of the Friends of the Nevada State Museum Las Vegas provided a most interesting and timely presentation by Rayette Martin on the protection and caring of Nevada’s cultural resources. Mrs. Martin is involved with two important Nevada organizations that protect and preserve Nevada cultural treasures: ‘Nevada Site Stewardship Program’ and ‘Nevadans for Cultural Preservation”. The following summarizes the key points of Mrs. Martin’s presentation:

Nevada’s cultural resources consist of both features and artifacts. These are present throughout the state.

Examples of features include rock shelters (such as the well-known Hidden cave) as well as wickiups, game traps composed of brush piles or rocks used to slow down game. Other features and artifacts that are found throughout Nevada include:

Historical Nevada also has features such as:

The major threats to Nevada’s cultural treasures include:

It is essential that the public help to mitigate these threats by:

Mrs. Martin also suggested not to share the location of a feature or artifact if one publishes a photo on the internet. This can easily be done by turning off the geolocation setting. This will prevent unscrupulous individuals from visiting the site and doing damage.

She also invited the audience to participate in the Nevada Site Stewardship program. Individuals of this group visit historic sites four times a year to determine their condition and note if any impacts have occurred.

Artifacts and features represent an important visible part of Nevada’s cultural heritage and should be enjoyed, treasured and protected by all her citizens and visitors.

"This Museum Rocks" Comes in November

Fairy Door

The fun and fascinating event "This Museum Rocks!" includes refreshments, a glass of wine, talks about mining, mineral science, and ancient and modern jewelry by NSMLV curators on Sat. Nov. 17 from 1-3 pm. There is an optional jewelry-making class from 3-4:30 pm.

Never-before-displayed museum collections will be shown. Silent auctions of rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry, and designer handbags to carry away your loot will be offered.

You must register in advance for this event. The non-refundable cost is $5/person. Register online. Parking information will be emailed to you when your registration is complete.

A jewelry-making class is available from 3-4:30 pm in the museum's Education Room for an additional non-refundable fee of $30/person. Linda Higgins Stanley, an accomplished jewelry designer, will teach this class in the Education Room at the museum. The price includes jewelry-making tools for you take to take home, along with your choice of stones to make a lariat-style necklace and pair of earrings to keep. You must sign-up in advance. Places are limited - book early so you don’t miss out!!

YOU can help! Donate quality, undamaged costume or fine jewelry for men (bolo ties, tie tacks, belt buckles, etc.) or women. Or donate fossils, rock, or mineral specimens. Please label them so we know what they are! Leave your donation at the museum's welcome desk or bring it to our monthly meeting.

A donated pendant

Register online to volunteer to set up for the event, serve refreshments, help the curators manage the exhibits, assist with sales and the silent auction, or to clean up. Volunteers receive a free beverage ticket!

All events held at the museum and are free with paid admission or membership. No registration required unless otherwise noted. Friends general meetings are the 3rd Thurs. of month. The museum is at 309 S. Valley View Blvd., inside Springs Preserve, LV 89107
Sat Oct 13 2-4 pm Archaeological Resources Protection Act Training Kelly Turner, United States Forest Service Southern NV Archaeology Speaker Series
Thu Oct 18 6-7 pm Atomic Testing Museum & Nevada's role in testing Michael Hall of Atomic Testing Museum Friends General Meeting
Sat Oct 20 2-4 pm Lake Mead and Colorado River Geology   Southern NV Archeology Speaker Series
Fri Nov 2 5-9 pm Day of the Dead, City of LV Sammy Davis Jr. theater at Lorenzi Park Friends host an altar honoring historical LV figures
Sat Nov 10 2-4 pm Bone Indentification for Beginners Virginia Lucas, UNLV Southern NV Archaeology Speaker Series
Thu Nov 15 6-7 pm Las Vegas’ Hispanic heritage Lynette Sawyer, executive director Hispanic Museum of LV Friends general meeting
Sat Nov 17 1-3 pm with optional class 3:30-4:30 pm This Museum Rocks! Registration required. Register here NSMLV Curators Friends fund-raiser
Tues Nov 27 All Day Giving Tuesday International day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season Global online event

To see the complete schedule for the year, please go to our Events page.

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