Local travel; explore your history and what makes the city great!

Hush, by Diana Reuter, is on display.

Kids exercise their artistic talents at the Haggin.
The Leyendecker Gallery is a popular art exhibit.
This classic Stevens wooden runabout helps the museum tell Stockton’s story as a boat-building center over the last 170 years.
The Yokets Village is part of the museum’s Native American gallery.
Huge harvester, a wonder of wood and iron, was pulled by a 20-horse team in Valley fields.

The Haggin; explore your history and what makes the city great!

Have you and your family wondered about the Native Americans and early settlers who lived in the Stockton/San Joaquin area hundreds of years before you? Have you recently toured, arguably, Stockton’s finest institution of history and art? Stockton’s Haggin Museum, declared by Sunset Magazine “one of the unsung gems of California” recently opened new and renovated exhibits and galleries, offering renewed inspiration and education for residents of the San Joaquin.

The Haggin’s Native American Gallery profiles Spanish missionaries who entered California in 1769, finding an estimated Native American population of over 300,000, the densest population of Native people in the entire North American continent north of central Mexico. 100 indigenous tribes speaking 125 languages inhabited California with diverse food sources, from the oceans and our inland waterways, to the marshes of the Delta and Valley oaks producing acorns.

The following 150 years would produce massive changes in the landscape and population, uprooting the native populations.

The Spanish mission in San Jose had the greatest influence on tribes in the San Joaquin County area.  In 1826, Jedidiah Smith, the first white trapper appeared, foretelling annual visits by trappers from the Hudson’s Bay Company out of Ft. Vancouver, WA.   In 1833 a malaria epidemic swept through the Native American population; over 20,000 died in one six month period.

Haggin exhibits outline how the Mexican government ceded vast tracts in the form of ranchos, including 46,000 acres to Captain Weber in Stockton, practices which further endangered Native Americans. The Haggin’s galleries trace how the county grew with missionary’s incursions and land-grant growth due to new settlers.

The Mexican American War ended with Mexico ceding California to the US, just eight days after discovery of gold at Coloma in 1848.  The Gold Rush would prompt California’s population to quadruple by the early 1860s. Museum exhibits trace the city and the county’s dynamic growth to modern times. The Haggin’s most popular artifacts remain, including the oldest harvester remaining, a wonder of wood and iron, built by Holt, the old Stevens classic wooden boat and Willy the Jeep, commemorating Stockton High School students who held war bonds fund drives and raised money to supply 245 Jeeps for the World War II effort.

The Haggin’s storied art collection, along with current and coming art exhibitions, make this a special time to renew your acquaintance with this wonderful institution.  They include:

87th Annual McKee Student Art Contest & Exhibition, March 22 – April 29: Celebrate the arts in education during this student exhibit, the longest running student art exhibition in the country! Featuring the work of student artists from kindergarten through grade 12, the exhibition was first envisioned by founding patron Robert T. McKee. All schools in San Joaquin County—public, private, charter, parochial and home-schools—receive invitations to submit their work.

60th Stockton Art League Juried Exhibition, May 17 – July 15: The Stockton Art League’s juried art competition returns to the Haggin Museum this year with more than 100 new works by long-standing local artists and newcomers from around the country. The original competition was conceived in 1951 to promote and reward excellence in Northern California art, expanded in 2006 to include all of California as well as Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Today it includes artists from throughout the United States; artists will be awarded across five categories:  Acrylics and Oils; Water Media; Mixed Media & Graphics; Sculpture; and, Pastel.  The works on display in the museum’s temporary exhibition galleries will be for sale through the Stockton Art League with pricing information at the front desk.

FULL SUN: American Women Artists Illuminate the Haggin Museum, August. 2 – Sept. 16: This exhibit celebrates a re-examination of the Haggin Collection; members of American Women Artists (AWA) were asked to create artwork that was inspired by a selection of 13 paintings from the Haggin Museum’s 19th – 20th-century art including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Albert Bierstadt, Rosa Bonheur, William Merritt Chase and other notable artists. This juried exhibition will include nearly 100 pieces of artwork ranging from paintings to sculptures.

2nd Saturdays for Families are popular with families with children ages 5-12. Activities include art projects, interactive programs and Museum-wide events. Reservations are not required, but seating is available on a first come, first served basis. The Museum supplies all materials and activities are included with regular Museum admission. Contact the education department (209) 940-6315 or education@hagginmuseum.org for more information.

• Saturday, May 12, 1:30 – 3 pm: Weave a colorful flower plate to take home or give to someone special.
• Saturday, June 9, 1:30 – 3 pm: Become a robot engineer for the day! Using simple materials, create a moving hand modeled after your own muscles and tendons.

Summer Art Workshops are coming, with Session 1: July 10 – 13, from 2 – 4 pm and Session 2 July 17 – 20, from 2 – 4 pm. Each session features a range of art projects for ages 6-12. Call (209) 940-6315 or email education@hagginmuseum.org.

For information: Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing, Stockton, hagginmuseum.org, (209) 940-6300, open Saturday and Sunday, Noon-5 PM and Wednesday-Friday, 1:30-5:00 PM (open to 9 PM, 1st and 3rd Thursdays). The Haggin charges a modest admission fees; all visitors are FREE on the 1st Saturday monthly.

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com or follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Happy travels in the west!

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    Tim Viall

    Viall is a local travel writer who retired in 2012 after 10 years as executive director of Stockton, CA's, Emergency Food Bank and six years with the Downtown Stockton Alliance. Previously, a 21-year career in daily newspapers helped shape his ... Read Full
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