Gilbert museum offers new programming for all ages

By Srianthi Perera

The Gilbert Historical Museum has launched a line of programming to reflect its new model of operation, Communities for All Ages.

The concept is a national model that strives to build a sense of community by bringing together the younger and older generations for programs and activities.

Programs run the gamut and focus on science, gardening, the arts and history among others.

“Since we’re a history museum, we’re still going to focus on the history, but we also want to look at the present and the future and we’ll have programs and workshops about contemporary people,” said Thom Hulen, the museum’s newly hired program coordinator.

The museum, on the south end of the Heritage District at Gilbert and Elliot roads, is gradually implementing its vision for sustainability at a time when history museums themselves are being delegated to history.

“We want people to embrace our history roots, our agricultural nature and our arts and culture,” said Kayla Kolar, museum executive director.

Hulen has formulated plenty of non-profit programming during his past employment as a museum educator at Pueblo Grand Museum in Phoenix.

“We’d like to have a good turnout for every activity,” he said, adding that he can accommodate about 20 people to each workshop.

Some programs are free of charge, others are free with museum admission or have a nominal fee. Kolar said that the aim was not to make money.

“We want to serve the public and we hope that people will see that we’re doing things that will impact people’s lives in the community and they will want to donate to us,” she said. “It’s the way to generate philanthropic dollars as opposed to being a straight out revenue generator.”

Here are the upcoming programs:

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Nov 12 and Nov. 26: Bluegrass Jam: The Gilbert Historical Museum and the Arizona Bluegrass Association are offering musicians an opportunity to play the music they love while providing the public a chance to listen to great bluegrass music. Musicians are encouraged to bring their acoustic string instruments. Please, no amplified instruments. Free.

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15: History Café: The history of Chandler and Gilbert Area; a discussion led by Danette Turner of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Free.

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22: Science Café: Join Jennie Rambo, the naturalist at Gilbert Riparian Preserve Water Ranch, to learn how to identify many of the birds found at the urban preserve.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17: Workshop: Holiday ornaments; Annette Ruiz will lead a parent-child workshop on making holiday ornaments. Cost: $10; pre-registration required.

For details, contact Thom Hulen at 480-926-1577 or or register online at