California History Action journal by Magnifico [WorldCat.org]
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Historical gems of the San Francisco Bay Area : a guide to museums, historical sites, history parks, and historical homes : over 200 fascinating sites to visit! : includes Santa Cruz & Monterey Counties

by Richard Di Giacomo

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California History Action journal   (2016-12-19)

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by Magnifico

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"This thorough guidebook identifies and describes in some depth museums in the eleven counties bordering San Francisco and Monterey Bays. The book’s main section lists museums alphabetically and provides their location, contact information, hours, costs, gift shop (if any), their permanent exhibits, their strong or unique features, and any research facilities they offer.

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The book begins with a series of short chapters organized by periods in California’s development, beginning with geology and pre-contact Native Americans and continuing to “The Counter-Culture, Silicon Valley, and Beyond.” Each of these chapters contains a brief overview essay followed by a checklist of museums relevant to the era. Checklists include a place for museum staff to sign, certifying school children’s visits.

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Other chapters list museums by county and by such categories as famous literary figures (including John Muir, Jack London, Robinson Jeffers, Walt Disney and Charles Shultz), and business successes (including Levi’s Plaza Store and Archives, and the Wells, Fargo History Museum). Other categories include railroads, ships (you can visit the mothball fleet at Martinez), agriculture, mines, firefighters, historic homes, historic sites, and scientific discoveries. It helps that the lists cross-reference many of the museums: Lick Observatory is listed as an historic site, and, separately, as a place of scientific discovery, and the Haas-Lilienthal house is listed both as an historic house and as the home of a business tycoon. Museums are not limited to California topics: world history sites include the Rosicrucian’s Egyptian Museum in San Jose, the Hakone Japanese Gardens in Saratoga, and the Hoover Institute at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

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The book includes some museum photos, but its function as an exhaustive cross-referenced guide minimizes the role of imagery. Museum websites can be a useful supplement. The book is a wonderful compilation, and anyone interested in California history will profit from owning it. One can only marvel at Mr. Di Giacomo’s dedication—and stamina!—in creating it for us."

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