Museums reopening in Stockton and Capital region

Safely visit museums as they reopen in Stockton and nearby towns…

We’ve been sheltering at home, mostly, for seven months, many of us working from home, retirees remaining home-bound – but many of our favorite places are beginning to carefully reopen. I’m talking about museums and visitor attractions in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties.

Openings are all tied to success in controlling the coronavirus. As both counties have moved into the red zone recently, museums are allowed to open at 25% of normal capacity, and museum staff and volunteers are working on re-opening plans exercising the ultimate in pandemic precautions. However, for museums closed for months, operating with reduced staff and facing daily changes in pandemic statistics, reopenings are moving targets – so check with your favorite haunts before heading out. And, plan to make visits exercising your own ultimate viral protections: facemasks, physical-distancing, hand-sanitizer, taking your own snacks and drinks and the like.

Tod Ruhstaller, CEO of the Haggin museum in Stockton‘s Victory Park, notes, “the Museum plans on reopening to the public on Wednesday, October 14th.  The health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff remain our highest priorities and we will be implementing protocols and procedures based upon guidelines established by our State and County Health Departments.  These include maximum occupancy of 25%, the wearing of masks, the availability of hand sanitizer within the museum, and signage reminding visitors to observe social distancing.  In addition, we will resume certain events which draw larger audiences such as our Late Night 1st & 3rd Thursdays once it is deemed safe to do so.  We look forward to welcoming back old friends and hopefully introducing the Haggin to first-time visitors.  For information on our hours and current exhibitions, please visit:

The Haines Houser Harvester is part of the Haggin’s collection which
reflects Stockton’s agricultural and industrial history.

The San Joaquin Historical Society, with museum and exhibits in Micke Grove Park between Stockton and Lodi, is working on a re-opening plan. Exec Director Kristina Swanson adds: “we recently launched a new digital educational resource,, which offers exhibits and resources, such as curriculum, for teachers and any students of history”.

Visit Stockton, the visitors bureau for Stockton and much of the county, offers additional insight. Wes Rhea, executive director, suggests watching their website and that of favorite museums for opening schedules since they can be moving targets. He adds, “enjoy the virtual tours of the Haggin at; the Children’s Museum at and I know the County Museum launched this earlier this summer”.

Captain Weber’s cottage graces the grounds of the San Joaquin Historical Museum.

Old Sacramento, west of downtown Sacramento on the Sacramento River, was the world’s seaport to the gold mines, anchored the Pony Express, the Transcontinental Telegraph and the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad.  By 1860 Sacramento had grown to be the second largest city in the west, eclipsed only by San Francisco.

Contained in the historic district are the California Military Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, the Delta King Riverboat (built in Stockton in 1927), the Huntington & Hopkins Hardware, the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, the Sacramento History Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum. Several of these museums offer creative on-line virtual tours and story-telling; check them out.

The Delta King, made in Stockton in 1927, is a
floating hotel and museum on the Old Sacramento waterfront.

The California Auto Museum, 2200 West Front St. (just blocks south of Old Sacramento) has just reopened; executive director Mark Steigerwald offers, “we were pleased to reopen the museum on Friday, October 9th. We’ve implemented necessary protocols to ensure the safety of our visitors with mandatory mask-wearing for all staff, volunteers and visitors and frequent sanitizing within the museum.

Tailfin of a 1958 Cadillac highlights the zenith of American car tailfin design, part of the
collection of 120-plus vintage autos at the California Auto Museum.

Our schedule will be somewhat reduced; we’ll be open from 10:00AM until 5:00PM with last admissions at 4:00PM, Thursday through Sunday. Thursdays will be reserved for museum members only. The visiting “Reel Cars” exhibit continues, featuring 20-plus classic vehicles used in movies like Fast and Furious, Ford versus Ferrari, Sabrina and many more. We look forward to welcoming you back”!

Consider your favorite destinations in your hometown and nearby communities, check their websites and plan exploratory, safe visits to help end your cabin fever.

This classic Nash Healey was featured in the Audrey Hepburn film Sabrina, and part
of the Reel Car exhibit on display at the California Auto Museum.
It’s neighbor to right appeared in the Ford versus Ferrari film.

For more info: California Auto Museum,; Haggin Museum,; Old Sacramento Business Association,; San Joaquin Historical Society,; Stockton,

Contact Tim,, or follow him:  Happy travels in the west!

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