Hi, thank you for checking out our new blog, Folsom Unveiled. My name is Kaitlyn Scott and I’m Folsom Historical Society’s historian. Each week I will be highlighting a different topic related to Folsom’s history that not everyone knows about by diving deeper into a place, event, person or piece in our collection.
In honor of Museum Week, today’s blog is dedicated to one of my favorite museums, the Folsom Historical Society! No, not just because they pay me… but that sure helps. Ok, so back to being serious. The Folsom Historical Society is one of my favorite museums because even though we are a small non-profit, we have accomplished so much over the years and aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Some of you might only be familiar with what we are doing now, but I would like to acquaint you with our history.
In 1959 the Palmer and Day (Wells Fargo) Assay Office was torn down, one of the men tasked with its destruction was Bud Davies and he made sure the material of the building was saved. In 1961, Bud, his wife Artie, Mary Bowen, Robert Finley, Mary Laucher and Ester Brady officially formed the Folsom Historical Society (FHS) with the purpose of rebuilding the Assay Office.
The small group kept their papers in a little office at city hall while they worked hard for donations and at last in 1967, they were able to purchase the empty lot to rebuild the Assay Office. After its completion in 1976, FHS moved out from the small office in city hall and began the Folsom History Museum. In 1991, FHS was back to fundraising for an extended space. That same year, they acquired the lot next door to the Assay Office and built a two-story extension so the museum could grow to house more collections, larger exhibits and space for staff and volunteers to work. In 2002, FHS began running Pioneer Village, our outdoor space beloved by local schools for its gold panning and forge. In 2017 FHS acquired a building at 917 Sutter Street that will one day become the Chinese Heritage Museum, while we do not have an opening date, we have been very active in our fundraising and planning.
Besides starting new museums or purchasing buildings, we have assisted with the saving of Ashland Station, which can now be seen and walked through at Pioneer Village, taken into our care thousands of pieces of 3-D objects, archival and photographic material, clothing and quilts related to Folsom and the area, surveyed historic buildings and features through Folsom and have facilitated and recorded oral histories. Every day we strive to do better for Folsom by planning new exhibits, events and innovative ways to engage the public with the fascinating history of our small town.
The truth is, a blog post could never fully describe everything FHS has done for the community, what the community has done for us or what we can achieve in the future if we continue our same path of dedication and willingness to work together. The committed groups of staff, volunteers, donors and board members throughout the years have been and continue to be the driving force behind our museum and we are extremely lucky to have their support as we strive to share Folsom’s history.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise but next year we have a line up of exhibits that will be unlike anything we have done before and I can’t wait to share them with you. For now, I would like to invite you to celebrate museum week with us and share any special memories or photos you have at one of our events or exhibits, I would love to see and hear how our museum has served you!