As of Jan. 1, 2018, the Gibson House Museum, including the barns and outbuildings, will no longer reflect the beginning history of Yolo County. Why? Because the Yolo County Board of Supervisors voted to wipe out our beloved historical museum forever.
The museum will be emptied of its historical furniture and all the existing articles that were donated by families and individuals. These families settled and lived in Yolo County since its beginning in the 1880s. There is no clue as to where these articles will be stored to fade away.
So what is going into its place is the Yolo County Art Society. Art by local artists will be hung on the walls. I have visited art galleries all over the world and they all have ample space to hang art. The space for hanging art downstairs will be limited by eight doors and eight large windows in the rooms, plus two fireplaces and a non-usable period kitchen that delights visitors and children. The lovely bedrooms and study upstairs will be kept bare so artists, easels and paints can create more art. The lighting upstairs is terrible.
Gone will be the third grade educational field trips from the county schools. Since the ‘70, many hundreds of excited and curious students have arrived, with their teachers and parent chaperones, to walk through Yolo County history of 1880 to 1930s.
The trained museum docents, who have also volunteered over the years and recited information about the time period, will be gone. Most of them are retired teachers from local schools who, when teaching, brought their students to the Gibson House because studying local history is part of the California curriculum. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. They made history come alive for their students.
In the 1970s, Stanley Davis Homes bought the property where the Gibson House resides, and were considering building homes on the property as part of its surrounding subdivision. Yolo County Historical Society members persuaded the county to purchase the property. At that time, the house and grounds were deteriorating and the county agreed to purchase the property so the Gibson House wouldn’t be destroyed.
The Yolo County Historical Society members, as well as the Gibson House Museum members, are devastated by this unfair and unrealistic decision by the supervisors, several of whom have never even been to the museum and grounds. They do not know of the historical significance of this property.
I implore all Yolo County citizens to call or write to the Yolo County Supervisors about this mistake they are making. Sign the petition on Facebook to Save the Museum. The museum has been solvent and able to pay its bills, due to donations, grants and special events like the May Festival, as well as some county support.
The people of Yolo County are the landowners and they need to step up to the plate and do what’s right to keep the museum and our local history alive and well.
KAREN E. LAFFERTY
Gibson Museum Board