Local Philanthropy

Revealing the rich heritage of our region.

A 20,000-gallon redwood tank. A J.I. Case Vineyard Special tractor from 1929. Stockton founder Charles Weber’s first home. These are just a few of the items showcased by the San Joaquin County Historical Museum (SJCHM). Along with them are 50,000 other items representative of the rich history of San Joaquin County.

Weber House

According to Executive Director Kristina Swanson, SJCHM offers residents a chance to step back into time, to a period that helped shape the agricultural community we know today. “We offer the community a place to learn and relax,” Swanson said. “The museum allows us to contemplate our place [as San Joaquin County residents] in history.”

SJCHM rests on 18 acres of land located at Micke Grove Park and features a number of themed buildings with displays, a restored schoolhouse, a vineyard, an oak grove, and a gift shop. Swanson recommends residents come to the park in the morning to enjoy the beautiful oak grove. “I love coming to the park [at this time],” Swanson said. “All of the staff and volunteers here share the same joy. This is genuinely a special place.”

The museum maintains an archival collection that includes historic records from the county and the cities of Lodi and Stockton, as well as books, maps and other items showcasing our county’s history. It features water rights records, more than 7,000 photographs, agricultural equipment from the 1880s to the 1970s, and extensive records of the Weber family and Lodi farmer-turned-philanthropist William G. Micke.

Another interesting aspect to SJCHM is its genealogy collection. It includes directories for Stockton, Lodi and other cities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It boasts a collection of plat books that provide visual evidence of landholding from 1876 to 1919.

In addition to their exhibits and extensive artifacts, SJCHM also offers education programs that serve thousands of children each year. Most notable are their Valley Days, Pioneer School Days and Critter Corral.

While the museum features permanent exhibits, there are some that change throughout the year. The newest exhibit is “Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America”. It features 28 textiles – flower cloths and embroidered story cloths – by members of the Hmong community. A hmong flower cloth (Southeast Asia) is one of the world’s great textile traditions and is an excellent example
of cloth as community. The exhibit opens Saturday, June 22, 2019, and will close Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Swanson said it’s important to support the museum so they can continue to preserve and exhibit the rich culture of San Joaquin County. The museum offers a membership to residents who want to connect with the fascinating stories of the county. Member benefits include free admission, parking, use of the research library, access to a newsletter, and much more. They also offer volunteer opportunities and host fundraising events throughout the year.

One upcoming fundraiser is the Holt 75 Tractor Centennial Celebration. On Saturday, June 22, 2019, the museum will honor the family of Benjamin Holt with a celebration under the beautiful oak trees on the museum’s grounds. All the funds will support the museum’s exhibits, play areas, and award-winning living history educational programs. For more information, call Kristina Swanson at
(209) 331-2055.

“We want San Joaquin county residents to recognize the museum is their museum,” Swanson said. “To visit, volunteer, donate, or join. To want to come here to reflect on the past, and to look toward the future.”

To learn more about membership, volunteer opportunities, sponsorships, how to donate, and other fundraising opportunities, please visit:
www.sanjoaquinhistory.org.

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