Pacific Grove, CA, September 21, 2018 — A new exhibit at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History will examine its own 135-year history when it opens Oct. 5, at the Pacific Grove institution.
The exhibit, “135 Years of Natural History,” will have an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, October 5, 2018, in the Special Exhibits Gallery at the Museum.
This exhibit will explore the museum’s history from its beginnings in the Pacific Coast chapter of the Chautauqua Literary and Science Circle in 1879, through the several expansions and reorganizations of the 20th century and up to how the Museum is honoring its legacy through extensive outreach and education programs. The original Museum opened in 1883.
“This is a pretty exciting exhibit,” said Juan Govea, Director of Exhibits and Education. “The exhibit will take people from the 1880s until now, speaking to changes at the Museum, from building to expansion, through stories and by showing bits of our collections that coincide with their times. There’s a lot of variety and lots of areas where people can interact.”
Govea said the exhibit will feature items from the Museum’s extensive collections, models, art pieces, specimens, and vintage photographs. “It’s a journey from one era to the next in five major blocks,” he said.
When he was asked what he discovered about the Museum that surprised him, Govea said he was reminded of the prominent role women played and still play, in the history of the Museum. For example, of the original association, nine of the 12 members were women and Mary E. B. Norton was one of its first curators. Women continued to play a prominent role in the Museum’s progress over the year. The current executive director is also a woman, Jeanette Kihs.
History of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
The Chautauqua (shuh-TAH-kwuh) Literary and Scientific Circle established its Pacific Coast branch in Pacific Grove in 1879. A two-week Chautauqua assembly was held here every summer, featuring lessons, exhibits, lectures, picnics, and concerts. Over the years several members felt the need to have a storeroom and exhibition site to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study.
In 1883, a petition calling for a Museum building was signed by Professor H. B. Norton, Dr. J. H. Wyeth, Dr. C. L. Anderson, Miss Lucy M. Washburn, Miss Mary E. B. Norton, and Professor Josiah Keep. The petition was sent to F. S. Douty, secretary of the Pacific Improvement Company, a small wooden octagonal building on their land the Chautauqua Museum's first home.
The original Chautauqua Museum in Pacific Grove was initiated at the second meetings of the Chautauqua Assembly in 1881, and the actual Museum was founded in 1883. The Museum was created to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study. In 1900 the Chautauqua Museum disbanded to form a more permanent organization as the Pacific Grove Museum Association. The Pacific Improvement Company donated the Museum’s current lot to the Association, and the Museum subsequently moved into a large building on its current site.
The Association maintained the Museum until 1916 when it was transferred to the City of Pacific Grove through a Charter election. The Museum remains city owned and is operated by a non-profit 501.c.3, The Museum Foundation of Pacific Grove. The Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1972, the first such institution in Monterey County.
About The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History has served as a hub of natural science on the Monterey Peninsula for 135 years, bringing together professional scientists, amateur naturalists and artists of the natural world throughout its history as it continues to do today.
The museum’s mission is to inspire discovery, wonder, and stewardship of our natural world. It envisions a community of curious minds, engaged in discovering the natural heritage and cultural legacy that exist today on the Central California Coast. The Museum is a catalyst for conservation and a valued learning resource in this region, facilitating active inquiry for all ages.
165 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950
Fax: (831) 648-5755
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Marci Bracco Cain
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