Pleasanton's Museum on Main works to preserve, clarify, and share information about history that is specific to the Tri-Valley region. The museum's public programs are designed to both to educate visitors as well as encourage them to participate in the arts and humanities. There are many ways to support the museum's mission, including becoming a member, volunteering, donating, or attending the annual Wines & Valentines Dinner fundraiser.
Fundraising efforts are vital to the health of the museum and its continuing relevance to the community. "In the last eight years the museum has made concerted efforts to change from an inward focused organization to one that is outward focused into the community," notes Executive Director Jim DeMersman, who has been with the Museum on Main for eight years. "With the introduction of new exhibits and public programs, as well as updating current programs, we have included more diverse topics and presentation styles. This has allowed us to reinvigorate the museum and its programs."
There has been a 143% increase in attendance across all museum programs since 2009. Those who work and volunteer at the museum are proud of that success-and feel driven to do even more. One focus for future development is a reinstallation of the permanent gallery and updating the Tri-Valley History exhibit.
"Our challenge is to incorporate more stories, collection resources, and present-day technology to create an experience that will be educational, engaging, and fun so that our visitors will want to learn more about this place where they live and become lifelong learners," says DeMersman.
While dates are important to the historical narrative, history is more about stories, he says. "The stories of the people who came here to this community and who built it, both physically and ideologically, are what people want to know about. The current exhibit languishes in the use of new technology that could enhance a visitor's experience and get them more interested in delving deeper into our community history and becoming lifelong learners."
The current Tri-Valley History exhibit, which is more than 30 years old, uses historical photographs, maps, and only a few three-dimensional artifacts. The museum itself has a collection of more than 100,000 photographs, hundreds of archival documents, some video/audio oral histories, and additional objects that "could help to better illustrate the stories of the people who over generations made our community what it is today," according to DeMersman.
"The current exhibit is bereft of talking about the ethnic diversity that has been a part of the community since it was founded," he says. "This includes stories of new residents who have moved here in the last couple of decades in our second 'gold rush' with the influx of people for the tech industry. A vital component of the new exhibit will be to document recent immigrant settlement and their impact on the community."
The 2018 Wines & Valentines Dinner will be held at the elegant Castlewood Country Club on Friday, February 9. Guests will enjoy a delicious three-course dinner served with appropriate wines for each course. An entertaining "2-bit" auction held between each course will encourage guests to trade quarters for small prizes. Prizes for the live auction include a Fire Station Dinner for 8; a Book Party at Towne Center Books; and a Tahoe Get-a-way at Squaw Creek Resort. Businesses are also invited to become an event sponsor to assist with the museum's fundraising efforts.
For more information about the 2018 Wines & Valentines Dinner, please visit http://www.museumonmain.org/wine-valentines.html. For more information about the Museum on Main, please visit www.museumonmain.org .