Annual Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology Summer Camp moves to Zoom

The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology has brought new meaning to its motto “Travel the world without leaving home”, as the museum’s annual summer camp has been moved online amid COVID-19 concerns. The camp will run from July 6 to July 16 via Zoom.

The summer camp has traditionally been a hands-on experience for children throughout Chico, but Camp Director Adrienne Scott has worked diligently to ensure the online format is still interactive and educational for youth.  

The camp integrates creative activities and learning formats to share information about different cultures, people and places around the world. The Zoom sessions will feature international guests from Wales, Spain and Australia who will share information and provide tours of their respective country. 

The museum can safely allow registration to children anywhere in California — and the world.

Other sessions will feature lessons about upper park’s biodiversity, cave tours from Spain, walking tours including animals in Australia and a two-day pottery lesson from a former camper. 

“We’ve transitioned from object-based learning which took creativity and lots of learning,” Scott said. 

Previously, camp relied on physical artifacts to help educate children, while the virtual environment will focus on integrating and recreating the artifacts at home. In addition to international guests and hands-on activities at home, the camp will teach through short spurts of video and introduce new guests frequently to keep camp goers attentive. 

The transition to a virtual camp has posed challenges as some children suffer from a digital divide. About 60% of children in Tehama County had access to Chromebooks and the internet prior to COVID, according to Scott. Previous camp goers may not have the resources to attend camp because of these new limitations.

“We really want people to feel supported this summer,” Scott said. 

Scott and her summer camp team have tried to balance these challenges by offering the camp at a discounted cost. The July 9 session is free. 

The museum partnered with DC Comics in Los Angeles. The July 9 session will include drawing lessons and a meeting with the author of DC comic “SWAMP KID,” Kirk Scroggs. 

The museum’s anthropology summer camp will run from July 6 to July 16, with events taking place via Zoom Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The camp is $10 per day or $35 for a week-long session, with no limit on the number of siblings per household who may attend. 

More information about the camp can be found at or by reaching out to camp director, Adrienne Scott.

Chloe Curtis can be reached on Twitter @ChloeCurtis__ or at [email protected].