The San Joaquin County Historical Society has been awarded $499,650 to pay for new and upgraded exhibits at the Museum. Last week, the Society received a letter from the California State Parks Office of Grants and Local Services, which administers the ninety-three million dollar Nature Education Facilities Program. The money comes from Proposition 84, a bond measure passed by California voters in 2006. The Museum project was one of forty-four projects selected for funding from more than three hundred applicants.
The grant will be used for several related projects at the Museum. It will expand and upgrade the existing exhibition gallery on the Native peoples of San Joaquin County and their use of natural resources. The living native plant exhibition at the Museum, the Sunshine Trail, will also be improved. Enhancements to the trail will include about one dozen new stations with audio messages about the habitats represented along the Trail. These improvements continue the legacy of the Sunshine Trail, developed more than twenty-five years ago with the help of designer Mike Schneider and the Lodi Soroptimists, to be accessible to people with visual impairments or other challenges.
A new “interpretive walkway” on the San Joaquin Delta will be added to an existing pond at the Museum (pictured at left) built by the Historical Society twenty years ago when relocated the 1847 Captain Charles Weber cottage—the oldest building in the county—to the Museum. Native Delta plants will be added to the pond, as will a walkway along the pond’s levees, which will include stops with graphic panels and audio messages on the natural resources and history of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Current plans call for completion of the Museum’s upgrades at the end of 2012 or early 2013.
Details about the Nature Education Facilities Program can be found at the California State Parks Web site.
David Stuart is executive director/CEO of the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum.