The big move of several thousand records and photographs to the Patterson Branch Library’s small community meeting room will commence today, Sept. 3, following the approval of the center’s new home by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors a week ago. The transfer of the records not only will provide community members a place to study the past of the families and city, members said, but also will free up a huge amount of space at the center building downtown to reorganize the existing museum.
“It’s going to be quite a move, but the hard work will be worth it when we’re all set up,” said Ron Swift, a historical society member.
Once it’s set up, Swift said, the research center will boast an organized way for historical society members and the community to sift through more than 5,000 photographs, old copies of the Patterson Irrigator dating from 1911 through 2006, and thousands more records that have been kept in 10 tall filing cabinets.
“We got so inundated with records at the museum that the society hasn’t been able to accept almost anything in the past couple of years,” he said. “We want to get back to where that isn’t the case.”
Swift, who has taken charge of planning the move, will also lead the reorganization of the museum and set up new historical exhibits by theme to put on display. Those displays will feature vintage items that will tell the story of the town’s agriculture, founding families, home life and schools, among others, he said.
Historian Claude Delphia will take the lead in running the research center and will organize the files during the next few weeks before the center opens.
“Patterson is rich in history and well documented,” Delphia said. “We want people to be able to learn where we came from as a city and what it was like in the past.”
The room in the library will not be the last stop for the research center, however. The lease agreement approved by county supervisors allows the society to stay a maximum of two years there at $200 a month.
“We’re not in the clear yet,” Swift said. “This is great for now, but we’re still on the search for a permanent home.”
The research center is expected to open in late September by appointment only. Anyone interested in conducting research or volunteering with the historical society may call Delphia at 892-5037.
• Contact Kendall Wright at 892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.