Man and Nature Hand in Hand Batik Mural

If you have visited the Museum's Erickson Building you have probably seen the "Man and Nature Hand in Hand" batik mural hanging in the lobby. It is hard to miss the twelve-foot high by seven and one-half-foot-wide mural when you walk through the front doors, but have you ever stopped to really look at it? I . . . → Read More: Man and Nature Hand in Hand Batik Mural

Prohibition in San Joaquin County

Still for making illegal liquor, San Joaquin County, ca. 1920.

I need your help. Last week, an avid genealogist phoned me to discuss research on her ancestors, one of whom owned a detective agency in Stockton. That bit of information captured my attention. Then she told me that he worked as a detective during Prohibition, and . . . → Read More: Prohibition in San Joaquin County

A Tractor for Kids

Most children I know are fascinated with heavy machinery. I think they imagine the machines giving them vast amounts of power far beyond the ability of their tiny bodies. Even my daughter, who was a stuffed-animals kind of kid, had a special toy truck of her own. I can still hear her humming to herself as . . . → Read More: A Tractor for Kids

Henry Ford and Benjamin Holt

Henry Ford (1863–1947) is not one of my heroes. However, I do admire the innovations he brought to the assembly line. By the beginning of the twentieth century, many manufacturers already understood the value of interchangeable parts. But Ford was the first to apply this insight to the automotive industry. Using identical parts enabled him to . . . → Read More: Henry Ford and Benjamin Holt

San Joaquin County’s “Italian Windmills”

Museums are like icebergs—only a small portion of most museums' collections are visible to the public. The bulk remains "underwater," stored for future exhibits and preserved for the benefit of future generations. And sometimes fascinating artifacts are visible, but under-appreciated.

Davis-type windmill adapted for domestic use, D. M. Drais farm, Farmington, Calif.

Such is the case with . . . → Read More: San Joaquin County’s “Italian Windmills”

A Quilt of Healing

Ten years ago on September 11, 2001, I was asleep when my mom woke me to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.   Automatically I thought a small Cessna-type aircraft had accidently crashed into the skyscraper, but nothing prepared me for the moment I turned on the news to see . . . → Read More: A Quilt of Healing

Nuts, Bolts, and the Holt 75

Remember the Holt 75 tractor that volunteers and staff at the Museum are restoring? (If you don’t, see the entry for March 23, 2011.) Not long ago, they removed the steering mechanism for repairs and hoisted the engine from the frame (left). Then they disassembled the engine. People close to the project tell me . . . → Read More: Nuts, Bolts, and the Holt 75

“Medora’s Museum”

Medora Johnson Basketry Exhibit

Currently on display at the Museum is a selection of Native American baskets (most of which are Pomo in origin) from the collection of Medora Johnson, the Museum’s first director. Born and raised in Lakeport, California, Medora gained an appreciation for history and Native American culture by helping her mother establish a museum in Lake . . . → Read More: “Medora’s Museum”

A Tale of Two Seals

Have you ever looked closely at the official seal of San Joaquin County? Did you even know that the County has one?

The Museum holds a replica (pictured at left) that sits on a wall in the library’s reading room. It measures about two feet in diameter. Folklore claims that our copy was once part of an . . . → Read More: A Tale of Two Seals