This weekend, out of town visitors to the Clarke Museum and Eureka Visitor Center have been asking "What in the world is going on in Arcata and Eureka? There's these bike contraptions and costumes all over the place and people yelling about glory! Is it like this all the time?"
This weekend of course is one of Humboldt County's yearly big events, the Kinetic Grand Championship, also known as the Triathlon of the Art World. It's a 42 mile long race from Arcata to Ferndale, braving city streets, sand dunes, Humboldt Bay and the Eel River to race their sculptures into legendary history.
According to the Humboldt County Historical Society:
Here at the Clarke, we have a few pieces of Kinetics memorabilia that have been donated over the years that you can see below, including photos of past sculptures.
If you've been following along with our blog, you may remember from a past post that Humboldt County had its very own day during the nearly year long Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. This day brought 500 Humboldt County residents to the Exposition in celebration of the rising star that Humboldt County was on the northern coast of California. Besides being a mysterious, heavily forested and beautiful area, it was turning out to be prolific in a number of natural resource oriented industries such as mining, logging, and fishing, along with agricultural and livestock based industries, with a number of dairy farms, cattle ranches, and apple orchards. With the completion of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1914, access to Humboldt County had become easier than ever and, with the creation and renovation of what would eventually become the Redwood Highway and US 101, access would only become quicker and easier, promoting tourism.
Besides having a day dedicated to Humboldt County, the County even had its own exhibit, pictured on the far right in the photo above. This photo was taken during the exhibit's dedication day. A description from California's Magazine, dated 1916 describes the incredible exhibit space:
Humboldt County's display was unique in that it had brought to the Exposition two great sections of a giant redwood tree. These sections were made into rooms, one of which housed the display of redwood. Here were hung the beautiful paintings picturing the famous forests of Humboldt. The ceiling of the room, which was twenty feet in diameter, was made of polished, hand-carved redwood. In the center was suspended a crystal candelabra which reflected its light upon the highly polished surface of the wood furnishings.
Artists featured in this exhibit space included Emma Freeman and Cora Wright, two locally famous artists. A post about the contents of the exhibit was made for the blog a few months back that you can see here.
Photos of this day were found earlier this year in the museum's collections, however, wasn't until recently that we found this ribbon in the archives, which you can see below. Some of the people in the group photo above are wearing ribbons like the one below.
On the right, you can see more of the detail on the ribbons central image. The ribbon includes a number of things that Humboldt County was known for in 1915: its dairy cows, orchards, farmland, streams and rivers teeming with fish and of course, its redwoods. We have a large collection of ribbons like these that were very popular in the early 1900s. Many different groups had them, including the Fraternal Organizations that are currently on display in the Clarke Museum's main hall.
Happy Humboldt County Day!
While going through some files in the museum office, a 1985 newsletter article detailing some of the early experiences of working in the museum was found. You can read the article below, which details one of the wildest 'first day of work' stories ever.
Never a dull day at the Clarke Museum!
Over the last few months, we've had an intern here at the Clarke Museum. Below is part of her recollection of the project she worked on: scanning part of our post card collection.
At the Clarke Historical Museum, we have many projects that we work on quietly behind the scenes. One of the largest long-term projects has been improving the museum’s database, including photographing and digitizing the 150,000 items we have within the Clarke collection. As an intern, I recently assisted with one little piece of this larger digitization process by scanning around 250 historical postcards from the collection. My work each day included scanning each postcard, front and back, and creating high-resolution files ready for cataloging and future use. Though the process of scanning can sometimes be slow, the project overall was like an ongoing treasure hunt, full of discovery and rich with stories of our local history!
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