Museum Announces 2019 Dome Talks Speaker Series

Kirk W. Johnson

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Museum announces the speakers confirmed for the 2019 Dome Talks series. The lineup of national authors and thought leaders address timely, serious, quirky, and critical issues. These evening discussions are scheduled monthly from January through June. Full Series Passes, which include a ticket for each evening, are now on sale. Individual tickets go on sale beginning Dec. 14.

Museum Director Melissa Russo remarked “Dome Talks has been a tremendous success bringing notable speakers to the San Bernardino County Museum. This upcoming third season of fascinating individuals promises discussions that will be stimulating, entertaining, and hopefully deeply thought provoking.”

Dome Talks commences on the evening of Jan. 17, with Kirk W. Johnson, author of The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, his investigation into the true crime story of the theft of 299 rare bird skins from a British natural history museum. Johnson brilliantly traces a narrative from the 19th century to present day about exotic bird exploration, ornithological research, the obscure and quirky world of Victorian fly-tying, and rare bird trafficking.

On Feb. 28, Richard Rothstein, discusses his book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of how Our Government Segregated America. Rothstein, a former New York Times columnist, is a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Haas Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. The Color of Law expands upon and provides a national perspective on his recent work that documents the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, as in his report, “The Making of Ferguson.”

On Mar. 28, Heather David, cultural historian and advocate for the preservation of mid-century modern architecture, art, and signage, speaks about her book Motel California. The story of the rapid rise and subsequent decline of the individually owned mom-and-pop motel in The Golden State, Motel California is a celebration of sparkling blue pools, flashing neon signs, automatic ice machines and bleached white towels. It is an exploration of theme-based marketing and a documentation of American culture at perhaps what was the most prosperous time in United States history.

On Apr. 25, Francis French, co-author of Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon, discusses his career co-writing four bestselling space history books and interviews with astronauts Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Pavel Popovich, and Al Worden. Currently the Director of Education at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, French is a regular presence on PBS, The Discovery Channel, History Channel and Science Channel.

Rue Mapp speaks on May 30 about the organization she founded, Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit social community reconnecting African Americans with natural spaces through outdoor recreational activities. The evening is co-sponsored by the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio and San Bernardino County Regional Parks. Through Outdoor Afro, Mapp shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in nature. Her important work has generated widespread national recognition including The Root 100 most influential African Americans in the country, the Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award, the National Wildlife Federation Communication award, and Family Circle Magazine selected Rue as one of America’s 20 Most Influential Moms.

June 20 is the final speaker in the series, Danna Staaf, author of Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight’s menu. The Inquisitive Biologist’s review noted “This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you write a good popular academic book.” Anyone who enjoys the undersea world-along with those obsessed with all things prehistoric-will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.

All Dome Talks evenings open at 6:30 p.m. for a light reception sponsored by the San Bernardino County Museum Association. Presentations start at 7 p.m. and include book sale and signing where applicable. Books are available for sale in the Museum store starting in November.

Full Series Passes are on sale for $130 ($105 museum members) and include all six evenings. Tickets for individual evenings will go on sale December 14 for $25 each evening ($18 museum members, no discount applies for May 30) and are subject to availability as the Dome Talks theater has limited seating. Tickets can be purchased online at may be purchased at the Museum’s Guest Services Desk. Advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged as walkups are not guaranteed. No refunds can be made for ticket purchases, but unused tickets may be donated to the nonprofit San Bernardino County Museum Association in advance of the date.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs, including Dome Talks reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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