.Local History Goes Back on Display in Napa

Six months after suspending in-person operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Napa County Historical Society is re-opening to the public at its location within the Goodman Library in downtown Napa on Saturday, October 3. When it opens, the NCHS will launch a new technologically-inclined era of offerings and events with the revealing historical exhibition, “Who Tells Our Story.”

The new exhibit is curated by NCHS Board Vice President and anthropologist Dr. Sheli Smith and guest curator Dr. Monica Hunter. The two have collected several books about Napa County, published by Arcadia Publishing and written by local historians and authors.

These books highlight many different aspects of Napa Valley; covering the locals, locations, livelihoods, leisure and leadership that have shaped the region. The exhibit not only looks into the stories told within these books, it also examines those who wrote them and how the accounts have been shared through the decades.

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Specifically, “Who Tells Our Story” covers the history of Napa Valley from 1830 to 1930 with the aid of 20 books, over 100 historic photographs and over 70 other items donated by Napa Valley families and business. The memorabilia includes DT Davis pocket watches, the glove die from the Napa Glove Company, and a signed baseball from the Coast League of 1909.

The richly-detailed exhibit opens to NCHS members and special guests in an online preview and virtual guided tour on Friday, Oct. 2, before opening to the public the next day. When the show becomes available on Oct. 3, the NCHS will employ virtual tours, online presentations, and other socially-distant educational modules in addition to offering the in-person exhibit, with limited capacity, at the Goodman Library.

These online presentations include a virtual lecture series occurring on the first Friday of the month from October to January 2021. The series will features four authors from the exhibit’s selection of Arcadia Publishing books. Todd Schulman, author of Lawmen & Outlaws, opens the lecture series on Oct. 9. Donna Mendleson, who wrote Jews of Napa Valley, speaks on Nov. 6. Alexandra Brown discusses her book Hidden Histories on Dec. 4, and Ray Guadagni, writer of The Long Road to Justice, wraps up the series on Jan. 8.

“Who Tells Our Story” is also accompanied by programs that include small group tours by appointment, virtual tours for at-risk and sheltered-in-place residents, and digital educational programs created to enhance the experience through social-distance learning. The historical society’s educational partners include the Napa County Regional Parks & Open Spaces District, the Chinese Historical Society, Napa Valley Farm Bureau, Yountville Chamber of Commerce and the Suscol Intertribal Council in Napa.

The Napa County Historical Society is located at the Goodman Library, 1219 First St., Napa. More information on the NCHS and how to become a member is available at napahistory.org.


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