Impact Report 2017

Friends of Nevada State Museum Las Vegas
Impact Report 2017


The Friends of Nevada State Museum Las Vegas exists to encourage and assist with NSMLV programs and activities by volunteering, raising funds, and by promoting community interest in the museum.

Our vision is to have NSMLV recognized locally and nationally for the quality of its exhibits and programs, and to create a financial support system to ensure continued quality of the museum.

Community Outreach

To promote community awareness and interest in NSMLV, the Friends sponsored programs for elementary and UNLV students, sponsored
presentations, increased our social media presence, and translated materials into Spanish.

Bus Buddies

Nearly 1 in 4 students who visited the museum this year were part of the Bus Buddies program.  The Friends provided buses to bring Clark County elementary students to the museum who otherwise would not have been able to visit.  Our program was so successful that it inspired the State of Nevada to fund a pilot program to bring all public school fourth graders to a state

Bus Buddies was offered to fourth and fifth grade classes since this is when they start learning about Nevada history.  A visit to NSMLV is an ideal opportunity to provide insight about everything from dinosaurs to the building of the Hoover Dam.  Kids are introduced to the museum in the Education Room, and then tour the building to complete workbooks on everything they see.  By special request, the Friends also sponsored a trip for Special Education students.  Community response to the Bus Buddies has been very positive, and many donations the Friends received were specifically to support this

A total of 6116 students visited NSMLV in 2017 and 856 (14%) came as part of the Bus Buddies program.  Student visits increased from 4130 in 2016 to 6116 in 2017.  Forty-three percent of the increase was due to the Bus Buddies program.  Of the 8 schools participating in the 2017 program, only one has visited the museum before, showing just how difficult it is for the schools to make travel arrangements.

Some testimonials from students and teachers who have attended include:

“This is my first time in a museum and this place is amazing!  This is kind of like heaven to me.”

Samayla, 4th grader from Jesse Scott Elementary School

“I love the museum so much.  I wish I could come here every day.”

Dayara, 4th grader from Jesse Scott Elementary School

“These kids never get an opportunity to come to a place like this.  It means so much to them.”

Ms. Iberri, 4th grade teacher at Vegas Verdes Elementary School

Traveling Trunks

Led by Stacy Irvin, Curator of Education, the museum has a “Traveling Trunks” program.  Trunks are filled with artifacts, documents, and teaching resources on a specific topic.  Teachers can borrow the trunks and have all the materials needed for several classes.  Topics include Nevada mining, growing up in Nevada, Nevada pioneers, the history of communication, and the Mojave Desert.  The trunks are a great asset to the schools and help create and sustain interest in curriculum subjects.

In June 2017, the Friends received a $3,915 grant from the Nevada Humanities Council, made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, to refurbish the trunks which had not been refreshed  for about 20 years.  A total of 11 trunks were revamped by historian Polly Michel.
National Endowment for the Humanities logo

UNLV Entertainment Engineering Department Collaboration

The UNLV Entertainment Engineering Department was asked by the Friends to develop an interactive donation box for the museum. The Friends provided $300 for materials.  Dr. Si Kim and seven of his students found a corporate sponor for 3D printing, Moment3D, founded by Alex Gao.  Close collaboration between UNLV, Moment3D,  the museum, and the Friends has resulted in development of a prototype for a new donation box.  Installation of the new box at the museum is expected in the first quarter of 2018.


Workshops reach the community via more interactive activities than a lecture and can include museum artifacts that are often not on public display.  They appeal to different people and broaden the deomographic of museum visitors.  Workshops provide oportunities for the Friends to work with other organizations for the mutual benefit of both groups and the public.

In 2017, the Friends sponsored four workshops presented by expert museum staff.  Our most popular workshop was  “Genealogy of a Quilt: How Genealogy, Railroads, and the Civil War Created a Quilt”.  The Friends and NSMLV were invited to give a followup presentation to the Las Vegas Quilters.

Department of Motor Vehicles Video

The Nevada DMV agreed to run a public service ad produced by Wayne Pichler, the Friends Media Coordinator.  The ad played on screens installed at DMV offices at 15 minute intervals during the first 6 months of 2017, providing information about NSMLV hours and location.  An estimated 138,000 people saw the Friends ad.  It was such a success that the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs replaced the Friends ad with one they produced.

Spanish Translation

We have an informational brochure about the Friends of NSMLV which was translated into Spanish and is available at the NSMLV reception desk.  About 10% of the brochures taken by visitors are the Spanish version.

Supporting NSMLV Programs and Activities

Two major efforts were undertaken by the Friends to support digitization of a NSMLV card catalog and to collect visitor data.

Crowdsourcing to Digitize Card Catalog

NSMLV has a hand-written card catalog, developed over a period of 20 years, to index early Las Vegas newspapers.  The Friends worked with NSMLV curator Crystal Van Dee to set up a crowdsourcing project to digitize the cards.  Each card must be
scanned and uploaded to the internet.  Rin Pendragon on the NSMLV staff is the champion scanner, single-handedly approximately 48,000 cards.  Scanning is done using a scanner donated to NSMLV by the Friends.  Once pictures of the cards are online, you can volunteer to transcribe them from your computer or cell phone.  This work can be done from the comfort of your home!   Between June and December 2017, 39 volunteers transcribed 16,195 cards out of approximately 240,000, so the project is about 7% complete.

Visitor Surveys

NSMLV had a pressing need to collect information about their visitors in 2017.  This information is needed to enhance the visitor experience by improving exhibits and collections to reflect audience interests.  Members of the Friends conducted over 100 face-to-face surveys with visitors throughout the year.  We confirmed weekends usually have the most visitors, identified the most active months for visitation, and provided additional information about visitor’s age, race, and zip codes, etc.

Information Technology

The museum continues to be underfunded for computers, printers, and networks;  there is no wifi, equipment and software are
antiquated; and the IT department continues to be understaffed.  During 2017, the Friends donated a scanner, printer, and a laptop to NSMLV.  The scanner made crowdsourcing digitization of hand-written card catalogs possible as described earlier.  Records viewed on microfilm can now be printed, and the laptop allows more volunteers to work at the same time.  Volunteer schedules continue to be limited because there still aren’t enough computers to go around.

Thank You to Volunteers

Volunteering is part of the mission of the Friends of NSMLV and the services we provide are essential to the museum.  We are grateful to all the people who volunteered their time to support activities at the museum. In 2017, 72 people volunteered at NSMLV.  Although 25% of all the museum volunteers are members of the Friends of NSMLV, the Friends gave 50% of the total volunteer hours.  They volunteered 2577 hours from a total of 5177 hours.

The Friends worked with education, exhibits, history, and natural history programs as well as the library and staffing the museum reception desk.  The largest number of hours were donated to help manage the History and Natural History collections.

Financial Summary

More than 50 donors contributed a total of $5871 in cash to the Friends in 2017, including membership purchases, drink and raffle ticket sales, and cash donations.  The largest single cash contribution was a generous $500 donation from an anonymous donor.

Approximately 46% ($2690) of the donations were targeted for the Bus Buddies program to bring Clark County fourth graders to the museum, and for buses for one class of Special Education students.  $380 from dues and unrestricted funds were used to match Bus Buddies donations.  Nineteen bus trips to NSMLV, with a total cost of $3070, were funded by the Friends in 2017.

A total of $903 (15% of cash donations) has been earmarked to support the Butterfly/Herbarium project which involves photographing specimens and uploading the images to the internet so they are available for researchers.  Purchase of a laptop for use in the collections area is planned, with the remainder of the funds to be used to help buy a camera for the museum. Additional supplies will be required to mount and store the specimens.

Information technology donations for the museum totaled approximately 9% ($506) of the 2017 donations.  A scanner, printer, and laptop for NSMLV were purchased with these funds.

$300 (about 5% of the cash donations) were given to the UNLV Entertainment Engineering department to support creation of an interactive donation box for the museum.  The box is slated to be delivered by May, 2018.

Money was spent to translate a brochure into Spanish ($100), for printing ($214), and legal fees ($100).  For refreshments in 2017, a total of $269.75 was spent.  These items totaled $683.75 or about 12% of the 2017 cash donations.  About 10% ($600) of the cash donations were placed in a reserve fund to meet unexpected costs that may arise.

Members made in-kind donations to the Friends, including water for the Teacher Meetup, raffle prizes, refreshments, printing, and postage.  The Friends of NSMLV Board of Directors collectively donated $2,093.43 in cash and in-kind donations.

We gratefully acknowledge cash contributions of $875 – $335 from: Other cash donors include:
Jeff Alpert Barbara Ciocca Robert Ostrovsky
an Anonymous donor Laura Eisenberg Jennifer Ruckle
Nancy Brady Peter R. Dube Carol Swearingen
Mary Savage/Robert Riemer Ritche Duplechien Gay & Steve Shoaff
Patricia Thacker Sarah Hulme Gloria Sturman
Steven Marzullo Crystal R. Van Dee
Annie McDonald Marguerite Walton
Nicole Navidad Dottie White
Joan & Robert Whitely

Thank You to NSMLV Staff

The enthusiasm and support of the NSMLV Staff have made the
Friend’s 2017 accomplishments possible.

Friends of NSMLV 2017 Board of Directors

The 2017 Board of Directors for the Friends of NSMLV

Mary Savage, President
Joan Whitely, Vice President
Laura Eisenberg, Treasurer
Wayne Pichler, Media Coordinator
Nick Dyer succeeded by Sarah Hulme, Secretary