Museum of Ventura County - A Brief Story


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Prepared by Executive Director Tim Schiffer, this presentation takes you through the history of the Museum of Ventura County.

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  • Museum of Ventura County - A Brief Story

    1. 1. The County’s first American doctor, Cephas Bard came to Ventura from Pennsylvania in 1868. In addition to being a beloved doctor, he was interested in the flora, fauna and people of the County, and collected curios and artifacts.
    2. 2. L l Letter home from Dr. Bard, 1868, describing the sights of Ventura County, from the Museum Research Library collection. The Museum’s collections include thousands of priceless and irreplaceable documents, photographs, artifacts and artworks dating from prehistory to the present.
    3. 3. When he died in 1902, Cephas Bard left his collection to the Pioneer Society, predecessor of the Ventura County Historical Society and of the Museum. The collection was displayed in the newly opened County Courthouse (now City Hall) in 1913.
    4. 4. Brothers E. M. Sheridan and Sol Sheridan were the first curators of the collection.
    5. 5. In the 1950s, the Museum moved to a building just below the courthouse on California Street. Called the Pioneer Museum, it was a county-funded agency.
    6. 6. The Pioneer Museum displayed the collections in identical cases. Today’s Museum places more emphasis on interpretation and interactive displays.
    7. 7. In 1975, the Museum broke ground on a new facility at its current site on Main Street. The fundraising campaign was led by Katherine H. Haley and her brother, Walter Hoffman (left). The 15,000 square foot building was built with private funds on a city-owned parcel of land.
    8. 8. The new building opened in 1977. In 1978, with passage of Proposition 13, the County of Ventura withdrew its operating support for the Museum. The Museum has been an independent nonprofit ever since.
    9. 9. In 2001, the Museum began planning a 25,000 square foot addition to its facility. Designed by David Martin of A.C. Martin Partners Architects, the new building is surrounded by a river rock wall that recalls the wall surrounding the orchards of Mission San Buenaventura, originally on the site. A public plaza and event pavilion front on the street. The new entrance is through the central Great Hall, a skylit two-story tower linking the new building and the original building. To date, the Museum has raised over $7.5 million for the project from individuals, families, foundations and corporations.
    10. 10. The new construction, shown in darker tan, includes the Pavilion for meetings, lectures and special events, new galleries for changing exhibitions, an Education Center with classrooms and children’s garden, a new Research Library with reading room and expanded storage, a new lobby and store adjacent to the Great Hall, and storage for the Museum’s art and artifact collections. The existing building will also be updated.
    11. 11. Construction on Phase One began in July 2009. This part of the project includes the Pavilion, Plaza, restrooms and parking lot, and will open to the public on July 4. The existing Museum will open at that time with new exhibitions, while planning and fundraising continues for Phase Two. n on the first phase of the project in summer of 2009.
    12. 12. The foundation of the Mission orchard wall runs adjacent to the excavation, along Main Street, and was preserved for future study. This 19 th century foundation wall was documented and then removed.
    13. 13. Mature palm trees on the site were relocated for the project.
    14. 14. Pouring the foundations.
    15. 15. Aerial view showing existing Museum with foundations for Pavilion and Plaza walls.
    16. 16. View of Plaza with relocated palm trees and Pavilion in back.
    17. 17. Plaza entrance from Main Street with Pavilion and existing Museum in background. The river rock walls recall the Mission orchard originally on the site.
    18. 18. The Museum is a gathering place for cultural and educational programs for the community.
    19. 19. The Museum’s educational programs provide hands-on learning for thousands of children—and adults—a one of a kind experience!