Making Magic

After many long days and countless hours of pinning craft ideas to Pinterest, adjusting materials, and making activities more suitable for kids, I finally moved onto the next step of being a Teen and Youth Programs Intern at the MAH. You might be asking yourself what that next step was, well lets just say it required a great deal of felt, paint, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, tacky glue, and a very, very hot-glue gun.

Now I never thought that when I accepted my internships at the museum that I’d spend so much of my time covered in tempera paint, hot glue and feathers, or cutting down paper towel rolls with exacto knives and scissors. Or that I’d be making countless unicorn horn headbands and having to beg for the prototype back from Sandino, one of our wonderful supervisors. To be honest though I wouldn’t have it any other way. The numerous weeks spent on these projects was so much fun and allowed a wonderful creative outlet for myself and so many visitors during the MAH’s 3rd Friday event Games and Folklore.

The extensive planning and preparation for two activities (Toilet Paper Trolls and Unicorn Horns) was certainly a lot of work and became tiring at some points, but the truth is there’s no other way I would have preferred to spend my time.

My internship officially began in May of 2014 when I started working on the first ever Summer Teen Art Market with my fantastic and brilliant supervisor Emily Hope Dobkin and fellow intern Alex Jackson, and since then I have experienced non -stop joy coming from the work I do  with the MAH. Clearly seeing children’s and adults faces light up with joy and creativity when making a toilet paper tube troll in The Enchanted Forest for Kid Happy Hour, or helping them making a custom unicorn horn headband  at the Mythical Makeovers station, filled my heart with so much happiness and joy that I was smiling non-stop. In fact, look back on it now I still am overcome with joy.

Carmen Palacios-Chisolm, while she maintains her duties as troll and unicorn keeper, is also a Teen and Youth Programs intern this summer at the MAH

In the Red

At the MAH’s anticipated scavenger hunt Race Through Time, the station I operated was one of my personal favorite spots in town: The Red Room restaurant and bar!

Pandemonium ensued as soon as the race began, and contestants rushed to my station within minutes of the starting time. Armed with bicycles, feet, mysterious clues, and the support of each other, contestants proved their awesome knowledge of Santa Cruz history. 

The clue leading contestants to the Red Room alluded to what used to be the old Santa Cruz Hotel and its many patrons, and “sinners” among other ominous things.


For bonus points, contestants at my station could make like the partygoers inside the Red and take shots!…Of different flavors of red juice. This activity was a little unorthodox, but it was suitable for the theme of Red and sinning and drinking and such. And that’s just how we do things at the MAH, of course.

Folks eagerly guzzled down sugary cranberry, grapefruit, and cherry juice to give them just the boost they needed to carry on with the race. Some folks were a little disappointed that the juice didn’t contain any mind-altering substances, but I assured them they could partake in those activities after Race Through Time’s epic conclusion.

Lauren Crosser was a temporary barkeep at the Red, and is currently a Community Programs intern at the MAH this summer

Shark in the Water

After a month as a Community Programs Intern, I finally reaped the rewards of many hours of Pinterest, prototyping, and preparation as I worked at my first third Friday event here at the MAH. The event was a scavenger hunt centered around Santa Cruz history called Race Through Time. 


During Race Through Time, I was stationed at the lighthouse on West Cliff Drive. The clue that led brave bike teams to the location was about a shark-bitten surfboard, which now resides in the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Working with that theme, I chose to lead a song (complete with motions) about a shark attack that I learned while growing up in Santa Cruz.


While I waited for teams to arrive, I yielded strange looks and questions about who I was and why I was standing with a poster that boldly proclaimed, “SHARK SONG”. Many people knew about the MAH and our events, and one person even told me he “loves what we’re doing at the museum”. It was great to see for myself how wide-spread the impact of the MAH has been in the Santa Cruz community. 


Only five teams came to the lighthouse during the 90 minute scavenger hunt, but those who did come were enthusiastic, excited, and not embarrassed to do a silly song and dance, which more than made up for the lack of groups. Several times, after a group finished the song, the dog-walkers and surfers nearby clapped! 


After the last group left, I took a moment to look at the ocean surrounding me, thinking about the beauty of Santa Cruz, the richness of our community, and—of course— sharks.


Emily Szasz is a Shark Enthusiast and Community Programs Intern at the MAH this summer

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