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History Museum Showcases New Exhibits

History museum showcases new exhibits

By Chris Treadway
West County Times

Article Launched: 11/15/2008 03:39:23 PM PST


The Richmond Museum of History will have more than a new coat of paint to show off from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, offering two free events for the public.

The exhibit "Richmond At War The Home Front Experience" will formally be welcomed as a permanent display in the Main Gallery, the first major change to the museum's permanent displays in more that 30 years.

"Richmond at War" originally opened in the museum's lower Seaver Gallery in August, timed to be in place for the city's annual Home Front Festival in October.

The exhibit "highlights the extraordinary events that took place in Richmond during World War II, and permanently altered its historic trajectory," notes museum director Donald Bastin. Photographs, artifacts, a slide presentation and documentary ephemera tell the story of a city that was changed overnight by a war that still defines it in many ways today.

Bastin describes it as "a snapshot of Richmond, the shipyards, the men and women who worked there, how it all happened, the teamwork involved."

A second display opens on Saturday as well. "Richmond Voting Project" is a video presentation of interviews that local high school students conducted with older members of the community about their attitudes toward voting in particular and civic engagement in general. The project, co-sponsored by the Richmond Art Center and Richmond Main Street Initiative and made under the direction of artist Sanjit Sethi, is on display through mid-December.

Sethi and the student interviewers will be at the museum Saturday to discuss the project and answer questions.

The exhibits offer a fresher, more engaging look at important times in the city's history and the experience of the people who live here.

"We intend to continue to make changes to exhibits and include the postwar period," Bastin said. "This is the start of major changes to the museum and adding what people think is relevant, which is the wartime and postwar periods."

In addition to free admission, the museum will offer light refreshments Saturday. Visitors also can get a look at work on Nevin Park. The renovation, originally scheduled for completion this month, has been pushed back until January.

Work included attention to the museum. "It's been repainted, so it looks a whole lot better," Bastin said, adding that Saturday's event is "kind of a reopening of the museum."

The museum is at 400 Nevin Ave. Details: 510-235-7387 or richmondmuseumofhistory.org.

Reach Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com.