Barn raising was a time-honored tradition in early America. Its major purpose was to create shelter for animals and tools. But it also brought neighbors together and reinforced community ties. These traditions continue at the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum as its Docent Council embarks on a campaign to build its own barn-like structure on the Museum grounds.
The new building is central to the mission of the docents, which is comprised of volunteers dedicated to education. Each year, the Docent Council conducts a series of programs for youth in San Joaquin County. The most famous is Valley Days, which offers young people from the third through fifth grades (as well as young-at-heart instructors) an opportunity to relive pioneer times. Valley Days activities include butter making, rope making, blacksmithing, and crafts such as cornhusk doll making and tin punching.
Other programs conducted by the docents include Farm to Fork, Museum Youth (MY) Camp, and Pioneer School. These activities require classroom, meeting, and storage space—all of which are in short supply at the Museum—which has created the need for a new building.
The new structure will enclose forty-eight hundred square feet. It will be shaped like a barn, and plans call for it to be painted red. It will cost an estimated two hundred thousand dollars to construct. Current projections envision completion sometime during the summer of 2013.
For information about how you can join the community as a docent or as a supporter of this project, call the Museum at (209) 331-2055 or (209) 953-3460.