Museum re-launches trip down memory lane |

Museum re-launches trip down memory lane

Marlene Linstadt can recite a story for nearly every object inside the Grass Valley Museum. Linstadt, an 11-year docent at the museum, knows the museum’s stories inside and out.

She tells one about the double-doors which had a faux wood-grain painted on them to look more valuable than the cheap pine panels they actually were.

In her Gold Rush-era dress, Linstadt demonstrates a cork-press, meant for creating corks for bottles of medication.

Over the years, she’s honed her craft through careful research, learning the use of every piece of equipment displayed in the museum, and will soon be joined by a new group of docents.

The museum is reopening this week with a fresh set of volunteer docents after losing two longtime docents in 2009. Cece Fowler and Margaret Castle, who each served as docents for more than 20 years, died last year.

Joseph Guida, who manages the museum at the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center on 410 S. Church St., said most of the new group of docents has been recruited from parishioners at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

The museum is also shifting from a weekday-only schedule to a Wednesday to Saturday 12:30-3:30 p.m. schedule starting this week. Guida said it’s an attempt to showcase the historic museum to more people.

“We’re hoping that we can help out more local people and out-of-towners by opening on Saturday,” Guida said. “It’s really the undiscovered jewel of Grass Valley. It’s our only museum that isn’t based around mining.”

The museum showcases artifacts from the mid-19th century through the 1930s, including a 45-star American flag (circa 1896) and a vintage classroom and doctor’s office.

Barry Vejby and his wife, Laurie, visited the museum from the Bay Area Wednesday to follow Linstadt’s tour. The couple was researching Laurie’s Irish ancestors who lived in Grass Valley during the era displayed at the museum.

“This museum holds a lot of things in its collection that we see in our own house,” Barry Vejby said, pointing out some of the Irish heirlooms in the building. “You see our collected history.”

For information or to set up a group tour of the museum, call (530) 273-5509 or (530) 272-4725.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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