“The role of preserving history is twofold—- firstly, to remind society not to repeat it and secondly, to remind society to repeat it.”
~Kayla Ettinger, KCHS 2019 Graduate and
MCARLM Scholarship Recipient
What does it mean to be responsible for the preservation of history? The role that a history museum takes in assuming the responsibility of protection of the documentation of a community, society, generations of area families is not a small task that can be taken lightly. Housed within the walls of 7 museum buildings located at the Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum holds artifacts that are no more just old items to the museum, than someone's personal treasures is just stuff to them. Each piece in the MCARLM collection represents a person, their life, their story. These items are proof of a life and time that may have passed, but mattered and made an impact on the world around us today, whether big or small.
Taking possession of these precious items comes with an obligation of protection and obligation into perpetuity. That obligation is not only to preserve, protect, and respect the history of those items; it is also to utilize those items in the education of visitors, youth, and future leaders. Studies show that visits to museums have unlimited benefits to children. As the caretakers of history, museums can provide for students a context and connection that is often missed in traditional classroom learning. Time spent in a museum encourages a love of history, encourages empathy through the stories of the past, provides opportunities for children to compare and contrast the past to their own lives, leading to higher critical thinking skills. Exploring a museum encourages curiosity which leads to asking questions, enabling higher vocabulary through exposure of new items and ideas. Museums also provide family bonding opportunities and creates lifelong learners.
This past year, with the help of our community, funders, supporters, and volunteers, we have continued to work to honor our obligation to protect the history of our area, and to provide educational opportunities to the visitors to the museum and the youth of our region. Our school tour and 4th Grade History Jamboree programs continue to provide students with immersive hands-on-history opportunities that offer memorable experiences and add to the social studies curriculums provided in the classroom. Our paid High School Internships offers personal and professional growth at a higher level with a year-long program for young adults on the verge of taking that next step in life. We reach additional students that are not able to physically visit the museum through educational outreach programs like our in-class traveling history trunk and farm days.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us in our obligation of public trust through donations of funds, items, stories, and dedication of time. Your support is invaluable to the sustainability of our mission, and so greatly appreciated. I hope that you continue on our mission this new year as we continue to provide an grow our educational opportunities for lifelong learners of all ages. Help us keep the story of the heritage of the Salinas Valley and the families that so strongly influenced alive for generations to come. History is being made every day, be a part of the story!
I look forward to this new year, all the plans that we are working on, and collaborating with you in the preservation of your family's heritage.
Executive Director ~ MCARLM