Cambrian: Opinion

Cambria Historical Museum needs volunteers, adds small admission fee for 2017

Twenty tourists in a group of 40 from Santa Cruz take advantage of a break in the rain to learn about the heirloom plants, while the rest visit inside the museum.
Twenty tourists in a group of 40 from Santa Cruz take advantage of a break in the rain to learn about the heirloom plants, while the rest visit inside the museum. Special to The Cambrian

As we reflect upon the events of last year’s sesquicentennial, commemorating 150 years of Cambria’s history, we feel the pride of accomplishment for our museum as the hub of activity for East Village, indeed the whole town of Cambria, since we opened eight years ago in December 2008. Our mission is to “tell the story,” and do it well and correctly.

To that end, we need to enlist more volunteers to join our dedicated docents. Following a special training session, you will work alongside a more experienced guide before committing to a couple of three-hour weekend sessions each month. As it is jokingly said, “The pay is great!” for providing a memorable experience for our visitors, many of whom come from out of town, earning their unending gratitude and ours.

Last year, our board took a hard look at the budget for operating the museum and gift shop, maintaining the Heirloom Gardens, and renovating and restoring the historic blue Maggetti House next door, which we are buying to eventually extend the museum office, displays and archives. Small voluntary donations from visitors averaged about 73 cents per person, not nearly enough to meet our needs to run a facility, which is not municipally owned. So beginning this month, we will need to charge a small $2 admission fee for adults, with children younger than 16 admitted free.

With a dwindling number of volunteers, we may have to eliminate the Monday morning open hours, which were established to accommodate visitors who stay in town over the weekend. Many folks have commented that they would have visited were we open on additional days during the week. All that would take is many more volunteers, so consider signing up now as you consider your 2017 schedules. Contact Penny Church at 805-927-1442 for the next available training session. We need additional assistance working in the garden, so contact Consuelo Macedo at 805-927-3159 about the next work day the end of January.

We have accommodated several small groups who come for special tours during the week, and we host a busload who come every December from Santa Cruz with professor/historian Sandy Lydon and make an appreciable contribution. You may donate $150 for a commemorative plaque on the picket fence, or an inscribed brick along the walkway, which is not limited to memorials.

Other ways to support museum

Other ways you may help us include joining as an individual or family for just $30 per year, or as a friend or business member for $100. As a perquisite, you gain free admittance to the almost monthly Speaker Series we hold in the parlor. Check out our website and get on our mailing list for the dates and times for the fascinating speakers.

Board President John Ehlers says, “Thank you to all who have contributed to and continue to support the Cambria Historical Society. Your efforts are the gift that keeps on giving. You may also choose to make a tax-deductible donation that will benefit our longtime goal of creating a Historic East Village Park — we are on our way with the purchase of the Maggetti House, but there is so much more to do. With your help, we will continue our mission to research and share the fascinating story of Cambria’s past with future generations.”

We have benefited from proceeds of the spring Heritage Day and Harvest Festival Weekend of Events, and from grants that are applicable to specific projects. Other occasions break even, such as the annual Recognitions Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Cambria Pines Lodge.

Save that date to enjoy prime rib, halibut or vegetarian lasagna, and hear a highly entertaining and informative presentation by Michael Semas — “See the Central Coast as Never Before: Through the Lens of the Photographer.” This includes a PowerPoint display of historic postcards and photos, many from his collection of more than 20,000 images, including the largest selection of works by the noted George Besaw.

Reservations are open to the public as well as members and will be available at the museum, on our website or by calling Penny Church.

Consuelo Macedo’s column on North Coast history and Cambria Historical Society activities appears the first Thursday of each month and is special to The Cambrian.

About the museum

The Cambria Historical Museum and bookstore, 2251 Center St. at Burton Drive, staffed by volunteers from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday morning; the Heirloom Gardens and backyard nursery are open all day, every day. Phone: 805-927-2891. Go to, or