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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May is Museum Month

James Kern

The History Blog is a place to tell stories about the history of Vallejo and Mare Island. As we like to say at the Vallejo Museum, “History Involves You!” so feel free to join in the discussion if you have an interesting historical tale to tell.

Did you know that May has been proclaimed California Museum Month? Visit your local museum to learn and enjoy more about history, art, science and many other fascinating subjects. The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum celebrates California Museum Month with several special programs. The Museum’s current exhibit, “Forged in Fire,” features the history of Vallejo’s Fire Departments and takes a look at our present day firefighters through a series of photographs and paintings by artist Carlo G. Carlucci. A special program called “Museum on Fire” will be held on Saturday, May 13 from 11:00 to 1:00. Come on down to the Museum (located at 734 Marin Street) to see how Vallejo firefighters tackle a simulated fire at the Museum.

Another program celebrating California Museum Month is the Vallejo Museum’s annual Spring Garden Tour. This year’s tour is called “Vallejo D’Vine” and will be held on Sunday, May 21st. Call the Museum at 643-0077 for more details.

After a long rainy season, May finally brings spring to Vallejo. And spring marks a time of new beginnings. The month of May also marked new beginnings throughout much of Vallejo’s history. Construction of many of Vallejo’s historic landmark buildings began in May. It was on May 11, 1869 that the cornerstone was laid for Vallejo’s Good Templar’s Home for Orphans. On May 4, 1868, parishioners laid the cornerstone for the Ascension Episcopal Church on Georgia Street. That historic church building was destroyed by fire in 1969. The story of that fire, along with a handful of artifacts saved from the ruins, is told in the Museum’s “Forged in Fire” exhibit.

May 14, 1904 marked the day that President Theodore Roosevelt visited Vallejo. The occasion was the laying of yet another cornerstone! This time the building was Vallejo’s Naval YMCA, located on Santa Clara Street. What may be the biggest construction project in Vallejo’s history also has a May connection. It was on May 21, 1927 that the original span of the Carquinez Bridge opened to the public. That historic span is now being dismantled, replaced by the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge…. and time marches on.