Chaos (Intern) Theory

Just Another Typical Intern 
Most things end in mayhem, it’s a universal fact, whether it be love, life, or the fatal mistake of mixing chlorine with potassium. Everything, eventually blows up in you face (literally!) This isn’t to dreary when you know chaos can actually cultivate creativity.  
My time working at the Santa Cruz MAH, if anything, has taught me to welcome: chaos, mayhem, pandemonium, you name it.  Because without it, you lose the avant-garde, the spontaneity. Leading you down the slippery slope to a typical “dusty” museum. 

You might ask yourself, how did this typical intern become so wise? It all started in late May when Emily the Teen & Youth Programs Coordinator gave Carmen and I the grand opportunity to plan the first ever Teen Art Market on July 12th, 2014.
As the date approached us “interns” had to do set-up, finish last minute logistics, and deal with all the other nonsensical mayhem. Nonetheless we couldn’t have done this event without awesome artists, magnetic musicians, the vivacious volunteers, and; of course our canny collaborators. With my concluding words, that are neither profound nor life changing I leave you with this. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished but never forget the chaos you went through to get there. 

Carmen Palacios-Chisolm and Alex Jackson at the last Teen Art Market

That intern is Alex Jackson, a Teen and Youth Programs Intern this Summer at the MAH. He is also an intern for Subjects to Change, a group of teens who promote social change through cultural experiences. 

Final Countdown for RACE THROUGH TIME

Time is running out, now it’s time to buy your tickets for Race Through Time!

While reading this post, listen to this song to get your adrenaline goin’

In case you’re new to this scene, Race Through Time is a Historically-Hysterical, Time-Traversing event put on at the Santa Cruz MAH. Biking and walking teams compete by attempting to hit as many local historical locations around Santa Cruz. 

At every historical location there will be a MAH staff, volunteer, or intern presenting special bonus challenges for those brave enough…

I’ll be there as well, with my own twist on the bonus challenge…

This event is happening TODAY so get yourself to the museum ASAP to get your tickets, and see you tonight!

Mary Harpin is a Youth Programs intern at the MAH, as well as the keeper of the Intern City blog.

Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So are the Days of Santa Cruz History


3rd Friday is going the distance this July with a unique event transcending Santa Cruz history:

Race Through Time!

A town-wide expedition into the exotic past of Santa Cruz, teams will compete to hit as many locations as possible. Using clues, teams will scour and scurry across the city to discover local buildings, monuments, and history, oh my!


Instead of just walking teams contending for the prize, groups can register as biking teams, upping the intensity of the competition!


Interns across all areas of the museum are pitching in to make this event a success, including manning the mystery locations across town. We are also responsible for the surprise challenges at each location, where extra points will be awarded to those brave enough to partake.

Keep an eye out for me at one of the mystery locations, I’ll be the one wielding an oversized knife. 

If you’re interested in participating in Race Through Time click HERE


Mary Harpin is a Youth Programs intern at the MAH, as well as the keeper of the Intern City blog.

Follow the Fold

Today in the lobby, fellow intern Diana Montano is testing out Folding Art, a participatory activity for an upcoming John Babcock art exhibit at the MAH.

Read more about it in her future blog post.

Fresh Meet

Introducing some of the new and continuous stream of interns at the MAH!

Evan Nyardy Participatory Exhibitions Intern


I am a recent graduate of the UCSC History department. Interning at the MAH is my first professional experience after college and so far, I couldn’t be happier here. Working at the MAH allows me to work on something different every day and challenges me to think conceptually. In addition to history my other interests include visual art and music, so the MAH is a perfect fit.

Diana Montano Participatory Exhibitions Intern


I am a graduate student in Museum Studies at NYU and am currently avoiding writing my thesis by running away to Santa Cruz. I enjoy baking (especially soft pretzels), reading (especially science fiction), and running (especially half marathons)

Mary Harpin Youth Programs Intern


A recent graduate armed with a degree in U.S. History, I am interning at the MAH for the summer as I have in seasons past. Originally from Maine, I moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to attend community college, and in 2012 I transferred to UCSC. When I’m not at the MAH I’m usually biking or at the Boardwalk, and if I could have dinner with anyone famous, it would be Patrick Star.

Laura Woods Youth Programs Intern


I am a History of Art Graduate from London, England. I am so excited to be joining the MAH from overseas and cannot wait to become involved in their participatory museum culture.  I have experience working in national and local museums in the UK, so am interested to see how they compare with life in California. I love learning about different cultures, meeting new people and cannot wait for the MAH Summer events to begin!

Lauren Crosser Community Programs Intern


Hi, I’m Lauren and I’m a recent graduate of UCSB with a degree in sociology. I love doing pencil drawings, reading, and staring at large bodies of water. I am a total nerd when it comes to feminist theory, politics, and intersectionality. I literally always want pizza. I like the beach.

Emily Szasz Community Programs Intern


I just finished my 1st year at UC Berkeley, where I’m studying Classical Civilizations and Art History. I grew up in Santa Cruz, and I’m excited to be planning events that will invite and incite creativity within our community! I spend my free time drinking tea, writing, taking photos, and hanging out with my cat.


Webster’s First 3rd Fri

For the 3rd Fri in March, Poetry and Book Arts, I helped create two activities, which were both based on children’s books. ”The Giving Tree” I created by hand out of paint and cardboard. I sketched a life size tree and cut out approx 300 paper leaves. At the event, participants could take a leaf, write their favorite book and hang it on the tree.

I enjoyed creating the Giving Tree It was interesting, getting to create a life size character from a timeless children’s book. It was a challenge securing it to the wall because of it’s disproportionate weight but it all worked out in the end.

I also prepped The Hungry Catepillar activity. I hand cut 200 egg cartons, into 3-egg carton length bodies. Then I painted each by hand. At the event the participants selected a pre-made caterpillar body and could draw a face, and add antennae using pipe cleaners.

It was a lot of prep work. Cutting was my biggest challenge prepping for Poetry and Book Arts. If Poetry and Book Arts takes place next year, I recommend the Giving Tree activity is repeated. I liked having participants interact with a prop I created, it was a beautiful experience and I am glad to be apart of the MAH!

Youth Programs Intern


Hey Everyone, Haley here.

The Nikki McClure exhibit is up and thriving! Her work is truly enchanting when you get to see it up close and personal, come check it out! Helping to design the interactive activity for the exhibit was a great experience. Visitors are invited to create their very own zine, a self-published and handmade book with no limitations and endless uncensored opportunities. Zines can be anything visitors desire, ranging from unconventional views, to self exploration or playful expression. Visitors can use McClure’s work to inspire the making of their own zine, or take a whole new direction.


What I adored about the zines was the time and thought visitors put into them. Many of them are too touching to even describe, while others are quirky, funny, or intense. Its like McClure says in the above quote:

It is important for people to share their stories of their existence, and through the sharing of stories there is this commonality of experience as humanity. We’re so divided into these communities – politically, culturally, economically – in our country that to find places of common strength, when we see our common connection…theres power in that.

There is always a surprise when you open a stranger’s zine and get a glimpse into their creative expression and can relate.

Come check it out before the end of May.


Exhibition Intern

Heather Rose Peacin’ Out

Hi All, Lisa here.

I chatted with one of the MAH’s talented Community Programs Interns leaving the museum at the end of March. We talked about her favorite parts of being an intern and what she’ll be pursuing. Heres the exit-interview:

L: What made you want to get involved with the MAH initially?

H: I wanted to become involved with the MAH because I heard about their new theory about making museums interactive and accessible to the community and I truly supported this idea.

L: What was your favorite part of being an intern at the MAH?

H: My favorite part of interning was learning to brainstorm ideas for events and then actually executing those ideas to create an interactive activity at third Friday events.

L: What will you be pursuing in your post-intern future?

H: I am now going to be an office assistant at the disability resource center at UC Santa Cruz as well as continue my last two years at UCSC.

L: Awesome! Congrats on the Job! Any advise for future MAH interns?

H: Always be organized with your time and plan out what prep work you are going to do on different days so that it will be ready for the event.

From all of us at the MAH, Thank you Heather for your creativity and commitment to helping us fulfill the goal of engaging community members in local art and history. We wish you a bright and successful future.

Heather (far right), Community Programs Intern, works with participants to make Dream Catchers at Radical Craft Night November 2013. Heather interned at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History from Sept 2013-March 2014.

A Magical Time at Winterpalooza

From planning the activities, to watching everything come to life, working on Winterpalooza was truly magical. Coming up with activities for Winterpalooza is always the best part because only the sky is the limit. With that mind set, we came up with many kid friendly activities.  The activities I prepped for were Magic Snow and the Snow Globe Cups. Snow globe cups were very popular and it was so much fun to see the kids enjoying themselves. My favorite part of the experience was watching the opera performance with the kids participation.


Youth Programs

Winterpalooza Reflection: A Transition

Winter Palooza was an experience that could best be described for me as transitional. I choose transitional to describe my experience with Winter Palooza because I had started working on the cardboard castle as I was working on the shadow puppet interactive. During the castle building process I jumped at a chance to intern for youth programs. Aside from transitioning from internships, I went from spending little physical engagement with the community to having multiple interactions with them in one day. When the castle was finished I wish I could have done more. I wish I had more time to spend on the castle so that I could add more details to the castle; paint, accessories, and ways for kids to be able to engage more with the castle.

When I was working at the interactive my expectations or rather fears, were not met. I feared that the children at the interactive would have a difficult time or not be interested with the activity. In my mind I feared the kids would hurt themselves, feel insecure about their houses, and that I would slip up and say foul words. I was expecting there to be a situation that I would not be able to handle but fortunately it turned out that working with kids was not as difficult as I made it out to be in my head. The kids were eager to participate, courteous and respectful to one another and the parents that did attend the interactive with their children were hands on and involved with the activity. A lot of the pressure was resolved during the interactive thanks to the help of my partner Charlotte. Charlotte has prior experience and helped me handle a situation where I was indecisive on how to respond to a child who would not comply with the rules.


Former Exhibitions Intern

New Youth Programs Intern