New exhibit, “San Joaquin Votes: Exercise Your Right!” offers perfect time to visit San Joaquin Historical Museum

“San Joaquin Votes: Exercise Your Right!” makes for perfect time to visit San Joaquin Historical Museum

This year is a big year for local and national politics. Not only is the primary on March 3rd and the general election November 3rd, but it is also the centennial celebration of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote on a national level. In recognition, the San Joaquin Historical Museum recently opened its first of four exhibits for the year, San Joaquin Votes: Exercise Your Right!

Visitors to the exhibit will learn the history of various political parties, the election process, political districts, types of ballot measures, woman suffrage and historical political campaigns of San Joaquin County. Artifacts on display include one of San Joaquin County’s early ballot boxes, political cards and posters, political buttons and ribbons, voter registration books, precinct maps, and plenty of historical photographs.

A variety of historical campaign buttons, pins and memorabilia are on display.

Julie Blood, the museum’s collections and exhibits manager, notes “California was the swing state in the 1916 presidential election between incumbent Woodrow Wilson and Charles Hughes, with California being the swing state handing the victory to Wilson. The library‘s exhibit really sheds light on the importance of every vote counting. Details of who can vote, age limits, the impact of felony convictions which can disqualify voters are all highlighted.

While the exhibit reflects back on the 1920 constitutional amendment granting women suffrage; California women got the right to vote on local and California issues in 1910. Soon after, Lodi woman were key to approving a ballot measure to build Lodi Union High School, now converted to Hutchins Street Square. We believe the exhibit will help demonstrate the importance of exercising one’s right to vote on both local and national candidates and issues”.

This display offers detail on passage of the 19th Amendment, womens suffrage.

The exhibit sheds light on such historical fights to get the new San Joaquin County Courthouse built in 1964, including pictures of the former grand courthouse getting knocked down. The exhibit also gives visitors a chance to vote on the favorite dessert for the museum, making choices from such favorites as tiramisu, ice cream cake and other delectables. Visitors can participate in political surveys and vote to determine the best exhibit building.  

This exhibit traces the pros and cons of the new 1964 County Courthouse.

I am reminded of then US Congressman Richard Pombo addressing a large gathering from the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce back in the mid-1990s; he noted that what really should matter to voters is the election of local candidates; school board, city council, county supervisor elections, and tax measures. Pombo added that they’re the ones that most affect your schools, your city, your streets, your safety issues and more.

In the 2018 general election, a total of 196,635 ballots were cast out of 344,605 registered voters in San Joaquin County, a turnout of more than 57 percent. However, that’s 43% of registered voters who didn’t exercise their right to vote. A visit to the museum and harkening to the words of Blood and Pombo may help increase that voter turnout; the San Joaquin Votes exhibit closes on March 1.

Long a family favorite, the museum is deep in insight into the history and agricultural underpinnings of both Stockton and San Joaquin County. Exhibits at the museum offer hands-on activity and our grandkids have taken to the sense of history and mechanical inventiveness  almost immediately!

Innovations in Agriculture shares detail on the ingenious ag inventions that came out of local farmers and manufacturers throughout San Joaquin County.

The San Joaquin Historical Museum (along with Micke Grove Zoo) are the major attractions in Micke Grove Park, just south of Lodi. The museum offers marvelous exhibits on our Native American forebears and the early days of the county’s agricultural empire, including the tractor barn with 40 historic and huge tractors for up-close and personal inspection.

While touring the expansive grounds, take special note of the impressive Cortopassi-Avansino Building, featuring the “Innovators in Agriculture” exhibition. It illustrates the development of irrigated, intensive agriculture in San Joaquin County in the 20th century, focusing on six crops historically identified with the county: truck farming (small, diversified growing of vegetables and fruits), dry beans, asparagus, cherries, walnuts and canning tomatoes. In addition to large historic equipment and small historic artifacts, the exhibits feature large-screen videos, photo murals, and touch-screen videos. The simulated walnut shaker will make you feel like you are working this awesome machine deep in the county’s walnut orchards!

The Zoo is just blocks away, if you have energy to spare.

Author’s grandkids Jessica and Hunter always get a kick out of a tour of this remarkable museum, with plenty of “hands-on activities” for youth.

For more information: San Joaquin Historical Museum,, (209) 331-2055.

Contact Tim at, follow at travels in your world!

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