Sacramento Valley Museum offering a sense of place 

The Sacramento Valley Museum started a new series of programs on Friday aimed at getting more people to learn and love local history. 

Trustee Dixie La Grande began the Museum’s “A Sense of Place” series by highlighting the many books written about the settlement and history of Williams, Colusa County, and Sacramento Valley, which will be used throughout a series of readings and discussions. 

The reading group met Friday morning in the Alumni Room downstairs. That portion of the museum has wheelchair access, although sandbags were placed outside all the doors during Thursday’s storm, which left many roads and parking lots in Colusa County flooded, with some still closed more than 24 hours later.

Only three guests attended Friday’s reading, largely due to the weather, but the Museum Board of Trustees hopes interest in the program will grow. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about our history,” La Grande said. “At some point I will be talking about just about all of our farm families.” 

In addition to introducing a number of contemporary books on history, La Grande plans to incorporate Justin H. Rogers’ 1891 publication “History of Colusa County,” and articles from Wagon Wheels, a publication of the Colusi County Historical Society. 

Biographies, like “Turk Murphy: Just for the Record” by Jim Goggin, published in 1982, will also be presented in the upcoming series. Murphy, a 1933 graduate of Williams High School, was a trombonist and the owner of Earthquake McGoon’s Jazz Club in San Francisco

“All the books allow us to feature our communities more in depth,” La Grande said. 

On Feb. 22, La Grande will be reading from “Historic Legends of Colusa County,” from California Traveler, Inc., published in 1976. 

She will also present a “Gee Whiz Geo Quiz,” following next week’s discussion, and those in attendance will be given an opportunity to tour the museum and experience a classroom session in the one-room Glen Valley Schoolhouse.

On March 1, 8, and 15, the group will discuss water and irrigation after reading excerpts from “Where Water is King: The Story of Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District,” published in 1984, by Cynthia Davis, and “Battling the Inland Sea: Floods, Public Policy and the Sacramento Valley,” published in 1989, by Robert Kelley. 

March 22 and 29 will highlight people and stewards of the earth with excerpts from “The Tillers: An Oral History of Family Farms in California,” published in 1983, by Ann Foley Scheuring. 

Sajit Singh, a Museum Trustee and Williams City Councilman, who attended Friday’s event, said he welcomes other people to become involved in learning and loving local history. 

The reading group meets at 8:30 AM each Friday in the Alumni Room, located downstairs in southwest corner of the Sacramento Valley Museum, 1491 E Street, Williams.  

“There is no charge to attend, although we do accept donations,” La Grande said.

The museum will open to the public in March. There is no charge to visit. ■