ValleyFirsts! Exhibition Opens

Here's an idea for your next party: Ask guests to name five "firsts" in San Joaquin County. (Prime yourself beforehand by reading the blog entry for July 24, 2013, below.) Afterward, watch local residents beam with pride as they point to milestone after milestone.

John C. Frémont (1852), leader of first American mapping party to California.

John C. Frémont (1852), leader of first American mapping party to California.

But what about guests from out of town? Expand your question to include the entire San Joaquin Valley and you can include them in the fun, thanks to an exhibition that opens at the end of this week.

Starting on Friday, September 13, Fresno State University will host an exhibition that highlights firsts for the entire San Joaquin Valley. The event takes place in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery, on the second floor of the Henry Madden Library.

The exhibition, titled "ValleyFirsts!" will pull together a number of diverse firsts in the history of the San Joaquin Valley and use them to explore and celebrate the Valley's story.

The firsts will include firsts in the world that took place in the San Joaquin Valley, firsts in the United States and California that occurred in the Valley, firsts in the development of the Valley, firsts that helped shape the Valley, and first places in Valley history.

The exhibition will feature historic artifacts, documents, ephemera, first-hand accounts, and significant videos and images. Many of these items are on loan from other institutions or from private collections. Some will be exhibited for the first time.

The San Joaquin Valley's history will be shown through key Valley persons; significant challenges; the Valley's impact, innovations, and inventions; and the connection between the people of the Valley and the land.

The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular library hours. It runs through December 15.

The Friends of the Madden Library will hold a grand opening celebration, 6–9 p.m., September 13, in the Ellipse Gallery. The event will feature historians and institutions that have made the exhibition possible. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be available to the attendees.

Additional information about the exhibition can be found at www.valleyfirsts.com and on YouTube.

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