Chamber of Heart & Mystery

Explore this imaginarium for all ages. This whimsical exhibit is a portal to The Word Lab, an afternoon writing lab at the MAH hosted by the Young Writers Program.

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September 2016 - July 2019

1st Floor Lezin Gallery

Explore this imaginarium for all ages. This whimsical exhibit is a portal to The Word Lab, an afternoon writing lab at the MAH hosted by the Young Writers Program.

Discover the mysteries surrounding the human heart. Staged as a fictional study for Dr. Cora X. Crux, renowned explorer of the heart and its mysteries, this exhibition is filled with curious objects and art work. Observe the Cabinets of Curiosities, the Magic Lantern Theater, the Bureau of Discovery, and other devices created to discover the mysteries of the heart.

The Chamber of Heart & Mystery and Word Lab are the brainchildren of local children’s book author David Zeltser and Young Writers Program Executive Director, Julia Chiapella. Both are operated by the Young Writers Program, which began in 2012 to help young people use writing as way of self discovery. Projects culminate in the publication of a book, poster, or magazine, or a public reading. Books are sold at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

"The participatory model at MAH opens the door to the community and allows efforts like the Word Lab’s portal—the Chamber of Heart and Mystery—to find a home and flourish. When vision and generosity combine with programming excellence, the results can be transformative." Julia Chiapella, Director of the Young Writers Program

About the Young Writers Program

Young Writers Program

The Young Writers Program (YWP) is dedicated to Santa Cruz County students in grades 4-12 and their teachers in building students’ writing skills and confidence.

The Young Writers Program is grassroots and we’re passionate about writing. What began in the fall of 2012 with an In-Classroom Program has expanded into three more programs: a Dedicated Writing Room Program, the Hablamos Juntos project, and an After-School Writing Center—The Word Lab– at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

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“[Our] collaboration with MAH has granted over 400 local students the opportunity to receive after-school help with their writing.”

Julia Chiapella — Director of Young Writers Program

Get Involved with YWP

Writing Project Assistants are the backbone of the Young Writers Program. Your contribution makes a difference.

Reviews

"...the new Chamber of Heart and Mystery allows kids to fire up their writerly imaginations"

Read the review

Field Trips to the MAH

Explore on your own or bring your class. The Chamber of Heart & Mystery is one part hands-on and two parts fun.

Drop in for Free

MAH Members get free access to all three floors of the museum all year long. Family memberships start at just $60/year.