Cedar Street Times 4-8-2016
by Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg
Keepers of Our Culture come from all backgrounds, ethnicities and age groups. This week’s guest columnist is Patricia’s 13-year-old granddaughter, Grace McCoy. Grace turns her school assignment to visit a history museum and write about it into her discovery of journals and artifacts that reveal the everyday lives of her ancestors.
The museum I visited was The Native Daughters of The Golden West, which is in San Francisco. The museum is inside of a Victorian mansion, and is only open to members of The Native Daughters of The Golden West. To be a member you need to have been born in California, and you must sign up for yearly membership.
The museum is a room that has artifacts from the days before the Gold Rush, and during the Gold Rush. The artifacts include, but are not limited to, dresses that the pioneer women wore, pins, dolls, purses, brushes, and journals. The dresses are hand-sewn and were worn during weddings, gatherings, or even attending churches. The pins were made out of metal or shells, and were used to keep the pioneer women’s hair up. The dolls were usually carved out of wood, and children played with them. Most of the artifacts were carved out of wood.
“It’s Not Just a Museum … It Has My History”
The journals were really intriguing because they told the story of the individual writing them. What’s really interesting about the museum to me is all of the artifacts belonged to my ancestors. My family has been living in California for seven generations, and The Native Daughters of The Golden West museum has artifacts that once belonged to my family. This was the main reason I chose to do my project on The Native Daughters of The Golden West. It’s not just a museum, but it has my history behind it as well.
My favorite exhibit was a glass case that had artifacts from the Gold Rush in it. This was my favorite exhibit because it really showed what it was like to live in that time. The exhibit also had a journal from a pioneer woman that was telling about her time in the West. I thought this was interesting because it really gave you a peek into the everyday lives of the Californian women. Normally, that’s something we wouldn’t get to experience firsthand. It was cool because in class we cite sources and look at diary entries or journal entries, but we never get to look at the physical object. The journal at The Native Daughters of The Golden West museum was really amazing because it was proof that the pioneer women did face hardships and also had to adapt to a new kind of lifestyle.
Experiencing the Lives of Everyday Pioneer Women
When I went to The Native Daughters of The Golden West museum, I got to experience the lives of everyday women of the Gold Rush. The artifacts were also intriguing. Some of them were letters or newspaper articles; others were everyday objects like wooden dolls and hairbrushes. I really enjoyed looking into the past, by seeing these amazing artifacts that survived. The Native Daughters of The Golden West museum was very fascinating, and later in my life, I will undoubtedly visit this great historic site once again.
Free Writing Class—Write Your History for a Grandchild
Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg are offering a free introductory class in Guided Autobiography on Saturday, April 16, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the “Little House” in Jewell Park next to the Pacific Grove Public Library, co-sponsor of the event. No pre-registration is required and all materials will be provided. To find out more about the writing, editing, book design, publication, and marketing services offered by Park Place Publications, and for a free consultation, contact Patricia at 831/649-6640, firstname.lastname@example.org.