What’s New at the Historical Museum?

By Nora Heston Tarte
The 18-acre site of the San Joaquin County Historical Museum within Micke Grove Park is home to an array of notable buildings and exhibits that celebrate San Joaquin—old and new. In its 50th year, the museum opens new attractions to keep families entertained and educated throughout summer, and on long summer days all are invited to seek refuge on the grounds with a picnic.
While director David Stuart says nothing is truly permanent, the added renovations and exhibitions will be around for years to come. “We have several brand new exhibits,” David notes.
Sunshine Trail
Stop by to stroll through the renovated Sunshine Trail—a living exhibition of native habitats that reopened in June.
An improved accessible walkway takes guests through valley oak, foothills, Sierra, coast redwoods, and streamside plantings; plus ten new exhibit panels and three audio benches along the way. Overall, the renovations not only improve the experience, it makes learning more accessible to guests with disabilities.
The Delta Water Path
An outside exhibit focused on the San Joaquin Delta and irrigation, a walk way sits atop a levee that encircles the museums’ preexisting pond (as well as the 1848 Weber House), simulating Delta channels. It gives guests a unique view of the Delta and its irrigation systems. “So much of our County’s unique history has been influenced by the Delta—we thought the Museum should provide more information on it,” David explains.
Innovators in Agriculture
Also new in 2016, the new Agriculture exhibit (funded by the Cortopassi Family Foundation) displays historic equipment, smaller artifacts, historic photos, murals, large-screen videos, and interactive touch-screen displays in a hands-on format that invites adults and children to interact with history. Within the exhibit, six major San Joaquin crops are identified, and their origins in the county explored.
Children’s Gallery Renovation
The newly revamped children’s gallery grants the museum’s youngest visitors a glimpse into pioneer life. Set up to resemble a settler homestead, the gallery is an opportunity for kids and parents to interact, hanging clothes on an old-fashion clothesline, using a sink with a hand pump, and trying on outfits from the era. “It’s really all hands on stuff for kids,” Stuart says.
Critter Corral
Every weekend through August 28, a variety of farm animals visit the museum. Special for summer, the event (free with admission) gives kids a chance to get up close and personal with the animals, and even pet them!
Learn more:
San Joaquin Historical Museum
11793 N. Micke Grove Rd., Lodi
(209) 331-2055