Winters Museum features over a century of history

The first main exhibit focused the history of the Winters Express and featured the late publisher Newt Wallace.

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The Historical Society of Winters (HSW) hosted the soft opening of the Winters Museum on Friday, Nov. 30. The first main exhibit focused the history of the Winters Express, and featured the late publisher Newt Wallace. The exhibit included photographs featuring decades of Express offices and employees. Ida Wallace, longtime editor of the Express, was featured along with her husband Newt, one time World’s Oldest Paperboy. Along with the photographs, the current exhibit includes a newspaper press from the 1860’s. Charles Wallace, Express publisher emeritus, demonstrated how the press functioned for the audience. Several quotes from Newt are reprinted in the display. They capture some of his quick with and love for the newspaper business. “Running a newspaper as small as the Winters Express shouldn’t be considered a small operation,” Newt said in 1964. “We have a staff of 940 proofreaders–our subscribers.” Gloria Lopez, board member of the HSW, says that the plan to open a town museum has been percolating over the past six months. The society saw the increase in tourism as a great opportunity to provide education on the town’s history. People have donated historical Winters artifacts in the past, but that the society had nowhere to store them. Lopez says that Evelyn Rominger was the one to say that the society needed a physical space to display these items. Shaunie Briggs took the lead in creating the space. She says that when she looked at the room the museum would eventually inhabit, she saw its potential. With the help of other volunteers, Briggs repainted the walls, brought in furniture and display tools and arranged the exhibit. “I’ve had a blast getting to know the community better,” Briggs said. Community members attending the soft opening were similarly delighted to see what the museum has become. “I am happy to see we finally have somewhere to display this,” Mayor Billy Biasi said of the artifacts in the museum. Biasi recognized the fruit box labels and the photographs of the apricot harvest from his childhood summers spent working in the orchards. Juan Zaragoza attended the event with his wife and young son. He saw that it was a very unique experience to visit a museum featuring photographs of people that he knew. “It’s really cool to learn the rich history of Winters,” Zaragoza said. The evening included the showing of a 25 minute film featuring Newt, Winters and the Express. In 1967 the U.S. Information Service commissioned short films dedicated to life across America. Newt was featured because he was well-respected in the industry. Chaley Wallace introduced the film and provided commentary throughout. He shared a few behind the scenes factoids about the process of filming. Lopez made a callout to the community for more items to feature in the museum. “We really would like some artifacts and things you and your family might have,” Lopez told the crowd. They also welcome the community to volunteer their time as museum docents. The HSW has advertised their plans for future exhibits, including features about Winters schools, businesses, cultural groups and famous citizens. Currently the museum, located at 13 Russell Street, will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. [gallery size="large" jnewsslider="true" jnewsslider_zoom="true" ids="756201,756200,756199,756198,756197,756196"]]]>

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