January 2019
Exhibit Preview Reception

Celebrating Community Service with Style

Shown here seated in the center, wife and mother Captola "Cappie"
Barrett  built a career in the 1950s and 1960s as a leader of Fresno's  women's clubs and  charitable organizations all while displaying charm and grace in her signature hats.   Join us for a preview of this exciting exhibit titled Cappie Barrett Wore Many Hats that celebrates the life and community service of Mrs. Barrett through her gloriously diverse  hat collection . The exhibit also features the hats and history of several mid-century millinery designers. Take advantage of the opportunity to see the hats up close and discuss hat culture with the exhibit curator, Archivist Katy Hogue. Join in the fun by wearing your favorite hat. Light refreshments and a  pink champagne cocktail  will be served. 

The Kearney Mansion Museum will be open for a self-guided tour.

Location: Kearney Mansion Museum

Date & Time: Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 10:00 - 11:30 AM

Admission:  Members  FREE, N on-Members $8,  At the Door $10

Click HERE to purchase tickets or call (559) 441-0862 for reservations. Advance reservations required. 

$5 Kearney Park entrance fee waived for advance reservations.
Christmas at Kearney

Holiday Festivities

Throughout December, Christmas at Kearney Mansion was enjoyed by hundreds of students, visitors, and members of our community. We had many volunteers who came out on our decorating day to help hang garland and decorate trees and wreaths.  We are so grateful for the dedication and talent of our many volunteers who help make Christmas at Kearney an annual Fresno tradition. We would also like to thank our docents who volunteer their time to give tours to school children, seniors, and visitors who come out to enjoy the holiday season at Kearney Mansion.

Our reception featured home baked cookies, appetizers, champagne, and hot Kearney Punch for our guests to enjoy, along with an amazing array of desserts to bid on in our Holiday Dessert Auction. Many thanks go out to the generous bakers who donated fabulous desserts that went home with lucky bidders.   

If you would like to become a Fresno Historical Society event volunteer or a Kearney Mansion Museum docent, please fill out our Volunteer Application.

Save The Date!

Centennial Gala

The Fresno Historical Society will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019! Our Centennial Gala will be held on the grounds of the Kearney Mansion Museum in Kearney Park on Saturday, April 6. Society members will receive additional information by mail and email as the event draws near and more details will be available soon on our website, valleyhistory.org, and social media pages! 
Employment Opportunity

Weekend Tour Guide Needed

The Fresno Historical Society is seeking a weekend tour guide to conduct public tours of the Kearney Mansion Museum. The guide will need to be available Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12:30 pm - 4 pm. The guide must be comfortable with speaking to small or large groups of people of different ages and backgrounds and be able to climb stairs from the first floor to the second floor. A general knowledge of California/Fresno history would be helpful but not required. Special training will be provided in order to interpret the history of the 1903 Kearney Mansion and the life of M.Theo Kearney. The guide should also be available for tours during special events that occur several times a year. This is a paid hourly position.

Interested applicants please contact Executive Director Ruth Lang at (559) 441-0862 or rlang@valleyhistory.org. Equal Opportunity Employer

From the Archives

Fresno County Assessor's Office
Parcel Photograph Collection

We are happy to announce the beginning of a project to digitize and create a database of the Parcel Photograph Collection from the Fresno County Assessor's Office. This collection consists of fifteen boxes of photographs taken of land  parcels  by county tax appraisers  in the 1950s and 1960s. Donated in 2005, the collection was underutilized until retired county appraiser, Mark Curtis, contacted our Archives  in early November 2018  in search of a specific image. 

A friend of Mark's in Kingsburg wanted to add solar to his rural home, but was having difficulty gaining planning permission due to an old building on the property which did not meet modern building  codes. Mark hoped the parcel photograph would show that the building was there  before 1958, which would have established the age of the structure before current building standards were in effect. Mark identified the parcel book and he then arranged a research appointment with Archivist Katy Hogue to look through the relevant files. After some searching, he found an image of the Kingsburg address  on the center left of the first image below . As can be seen from the inset in the third image below, t he photograph includes a chalkboard with the parcel number, address, date of July 27, 1965 and the appraisers initials. Although the address was correct, the property  had a different parcel number due to development and splitting of agricultural land on the outskirts of Kingsburg. Although the house looks nothing like the current property, the building that can be seen on the far right side of the second image below may be the old building in question. Mark and his friend were confident that the photograph would resolve the issue. 

After seeing Mark work his magic with this difficult to decipher collection, Katy asked him if he wanted to volunteer to make the collection more publicly accessible. Mark agreed and recruited two additional volunteers  to assist:  another former appraiser, Gene Sibley, and Dr. Susan Pappas. These veteran volunteers are eager to move forward with the project, which should be completed in the next year or so. We hope that by making this collection digitally searchable, we will be better able to help researchers who are looking into the history of their homes.

Resolve to support the FHS in the New Year

Love Fresno County history?

Become a member of the
Fresno Historical Society!

The Society extends a warm invitation to our friends and neighbors, scholars and history buffs to join our growing membership dedicated to the history of Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley. 

Benefits include: 
  • Annual admission to Kearney Mansion Museum, including a special invitation to our members' Christmas reception
  • Subscriptions to our journal, Fresno Past & Present, and online newsletter, The Grapevine 
  • Discounted admission to most Society events
  • Time Travelers reciprocal benefits at nearly 300 historical museums nationwide
  • 20 percent discount on all purchases in the Kearney Mansion Museum Store 
Click HERE for more information on our great membership packages. 

Kearney Mansion Museum

Tours on Saturdays and Sundays
at 1,  2, and  3 PM
Click HERE  for more information

Fresno Historical Society
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