Heritage of the Americas Museum in Rancho San Diego Takes You on a Journey Through Time

Phone: (619-670-5194)
Web: www.heritageoftheamericasmuseum.com/
12110 Cuyamaca College Drive West
El Cajon, CA 92019

 

Heritage of the Americas Museum, located on the campus of Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego at 12110 Cuyamaca College Dr. West off of Jamacha Rd. (619-670-5194) [heritageoftheamericasmuseum.com]. Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sat. noon- 4 p.m. Admission for adults is ($3); seniors (55 and over) ($2), children 17 years and younger, students and members are admitted free.

Visitors of all ages are invited to experience a journey through time. Five wings divide the building into areas of Natural History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Art and Education. This one-of-a-kind Museum is a cultural and educational facility featuring an incredible display of the prehistoric and historic art, culture and natural history of the Americas. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

Take a Journey through Time

Early inhabitants of the Americas came from Asia, both across the land bridge in the north and by sea into South and Central America. Consequently, the museum houses one of the finest exhibits of Chinese jade artifacts, including a jade burial suit. A visit to the museum truly takes you on a journey through time.

The Natural History Wing

Natural History is the first stop on your journey, where you will find meteorites, rocks
and minerals, fluorescing rocks, shells, taxidermy mounts, and fossils, including a saber
tooth skull and an outstanding collection of trilobites.

 

The Archaeology Wing

Right around the corner in the Archaeology Wing you will see the paleo and archaic
projectile points, as well as pre-Columbian treasures from Mexico and Peru. There is an
extensive collection of artifacts from Teotihuacan and an outstanding Mayan collection.
This wing includes murals by Mona Mills depicting the life of the Kumeyaay before
1492, as well as a fine collection of Kumeyaay artifacts.

The Anthropology Wing

The third stop is Anthropology, where you will be afforded a glimpse into the daily life
of the Cheyenne, Eskimo, Hopi and many other Native American cultures. Of particular
interest are the headdress given by the Sioux Nation to Charles Lindburgh, Cheyenne
Chief Thunderbird’s buffalo council robe, and a Nez Perce dentalium shell dress worn to
a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt.

The Art Wing

Your final stop is the Art Wing, which includes many excellent examples of Western
art, including original oils by such noted artists as Olaf Wieghorst, Marjorie Reed, and
Alfredo Rodriguez. It is in the Art wing where you will find an outstanding collection of
Chinese artifacts. Referred to as the Stone of Heaven collection, it includes more than
one hundred exquisite Chinese jade artifacts of the late Neolithic, 4300-2500 BC, through
the Ming period, AD 1368-1644. Of particular interest is a rare and valuable jade burial
suit from the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 221).

The public is invited to take our journey through time. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturdays noon to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sundays, Mondays and most major holidays. Admission for adults is $3; $2 (ages 55+); free (ages 0-17 with adult). There is also free parking at the Museum.

heritage, events, heritage of the americas, museumSpring 2015 Director’s Report
Everything is going incredibly well at the Museum. The volunteers are kept very busy as the field trippers keep coming and coming. They’re also returning on Saturdays to give their parents a tour. It’s really cute.

The Museum Board of Directors spent much of 2014 updating the Vision, Mission and Values Statement and developing a 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. This was a major undertaking for both the Board and staff. I want to thank the Board members, Chairman Ron Raymond, Dr. Teresa Dodd-Butera, Stephanie Newman, Fred Thompson, Gene Yale, Mark Lueck, and Dr. Mark Zacovic, for taking on this important task. I also want to give a special thank you to my co-worker, Patrice O’Halloran, for the many hours she put into researching, organizing, and keeping these projects moving along.

We have a lot coming up that you’ll want to put on your calendars. The Spring Garden Festival will be on April 25th and you now have another chance to be a big winner in the Five-Choices Dream Raffle. Stop by and visit the Museum and check out the prizes for the raffle. We also have our Museum Roadshow scheduled for May 2nd. And don’t forget, the Códice Borbónico (page 3) is on temporary display. Don’t miss these great events!
Kathleen Oatsvall, Director

Kudos, Anne and Lee
The Museum is fortunate to have 35 wonderful volunteers. They work as docents, receptionists, and jump in and help in many different ways as needs arise. All are invaluable and they truly are the treasures of the Museum.

I always avoid singling out any of our volunteers, but what Anne Henderson and Lee Gower have accomplished this year (January through March 12th) is unbelievable. So far, Anne has put in 93 hours and Lee has put in 147 hours (and I’m quite sure they each put in many more hours that weren’t recorded).

So what on earth have they been doing? As you may know, the 4,000 children who come to the Museum on field trips also shop in the Museum Store. We have as many items related to the Museum as possible and put the prices as low as possible. The number of items bought each day is incredible. Keeping the shelves filled throughout the school year is quite a task, but the beginning of the year is always an enormous challenge that Anne and Lee always tackle. Each January, I go to the Gem and Mineral Show in Quartzsite, Arizona to buy, buy, buy for the Museum Store. It avoids a lot of “shipping and handling” charges throughout the year. I come back with car and trunk totally filled with boxes for Anne and Lee to sort through, inventory, organize, and put in the Store. It’s overwhelming, and they both keep smiling. Amazing! I appreciate their tremendous efforts so much.

Keeping the Museum Store stocked so the children will be able to take something home from their field trip is important throughout the year (everyone shops; if children forget to bring money, I give them some). Joan Thompson and Edna Hastings do the ordering and everyone works to have the shelves filled. All of our volunteers help in the Museum Store and I am so grateful. The children love it!

Youth ~ Awesome!!!
We have been so fortunate to have outstanding college students working here at the Museum. In the past few years, Ronnie Teague (UC Santa Cruz), Raine Hartman (Cuyamaca), Jason Calhoun (University of Northern Colorado), and Sam Hirmiz (Cuyamaca) profoundly upgraded the signage throughout the Museum, along with helping in many other ways. Now we have three students who are proving to be just as invaluable.

Brittany Gardner actually isn’t a student at the moment. She graduated from SDSU last year and is working part-time at Cuyamaca. Her major was archaeology. She’s finishing the task of relabeling all of the artifacts and is a frequent docent. Like Ronnie, she was once a third grade field tripper! She is truly incredible.

Olga Odeesh is a student at Cuyamaca and is here as part of the Federal Work Study Program. She helps us in so many ways, and is a great help to Lynn Rosen with getting ready for the field trips each week. All 4,000 students get a workbook, so creating these is really a huge job.

We are also thrilled to have Ariel Zotz here as an intern from SDSU. She is a history major and is looking forward to graduation this year. The primary task that she has taken on is awesome. Bud Lueck, the founder of the Museum, put together an outstanding collection of books for the Museum Library. Regretfully, because storage space is limited in the Museum, over the last 22 years the library has served as a workroom and, even worse, has become the place to put all of those things that you don’t want to get rid of but don’t know what to do with! We even have an area in the library that we refer to as “the dungeon.”

Our big push this year is to better serve college students. Apparently, it’s working! More and more teachers, classes, and students are coming in from Cuyamaca, Grossmont, and SDSU. Ariel decided that they should have much better access to the Museum Library. Undaunted, she has taken on the task.

We have been cleaning out, throwing out, and moving things out. Now Ariel is going through the massive number of books and rearranging them. She is dividing the books by Wing, i.e., Natural History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Art. Then she is putting the books in case order. That way, if a student is looking at the Anasazi artifacts in Case 26 and wants to do more research, she can go into the library and easily find the books with information on the Anasazi. Amazing!

She’s also uncovering some rare and awesome treasures, including the Códice Borbónico, on temporary display in the Museum Guest Case. Below are photographs of the Códice Borbónico, with the description and story she wrote.

In addition to the incredible and innovative work they do, it is also such a pleasure to have them here in the Museum. I walked in the Library today and Brittany, Olga and Ariel were happily chatting and working together. It put a big smile on my face. They are wonderful and I appreciate them so much.