The series will feature “How Chile Came to New Mexico” by Rudolfo Anaya on July 12 and “Stone Soup/Sopa de Piedras” by Marcia Brown on July 26. Anaya’s work will be read by local fiddling duo Jeanie McLerie and Ken Keppeler. The duo known as Bayou Seco might also perform music during the segment. Brown’s work will be read by museum director Bart Roselli and administrative assistant Amanda Gomez.
“In partnership with the Silver City Library we asked the children’s librarian over there to pick out and give us some options of books within our criteria,” said Erin Griffith, interim educator with the Silver City Museum.
Keppeler is so fond of “Stone Soup/Sopa de Piedras” that he keeps a copy in his office. Gomez will assist with reading the book in Spanish. She volunteers her time to help provide English to Spanish translation for some.
“Some of the books that we chose that maybe were only available in English or I could only find them in English,” Griffith said. “We’ve have several volunteers. Sometimes the volunteers will volunteer to do the translation themselves.
“So Amanda and Bart are going to read ‘Sopa de Piedras’ and we think it has a good relevance too and just how everyone in the community chipped in to make something from nothing and survive and get by and flourish and that’s really what we’re trying to do as a community.”
The storytime series can be viewed via Zoom. The Zoom links and meeting IDs can be found at silvercitymuseum.org by clicking the “Programs & Events” tab.
The goal of the series is to not only be fun for children but also educational.
“We all wanted it to be educational about this area and this heritage,” Griffith said. “With that in mind I thought of doing a storytime kind of thing over Zoom but to do it in a way that we use people from our community, that are well known in the community, that are kind of like familiar voices to kids. We wanted something comforting so we only chose books that are about the southwest or about this area… And all of them are bilingual so we’ll have two readers and one person will read in English and another person will read the same in Spanish. Our community is probably about 50% Hispanic or Spanish speaking so we want to address these and the Spanish speaking community as well.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the museum had been trying to integrate a Zoom platform for its live lectures. When the pandemic struck the museum was forced to cancel lectures that had previously drawn a large following. So much so that the lectures had to be held at a local theater.
“All of a sudden overnight I had to cancel everything and do an about face,” Griffith said. “So we went through a really quick process of looking at how we could continue addressing the needs of our community and do it in a safe responsible way.”
Cost to put on the series also came into play.
“We wanted to do something that could be done with relatively low financial investment,” Griffith said. “We’re a nonprofit and we have a very small budget. Out of everything that we do is on a shoestring and we never charge for any of our programs or for admission. (It was important) also to go with the museum’s mission of promoting Grant County culture and educating on Grant County culture and history.”