The Castro Valley Pop-Up Museum!

Bringing History to You

by Diane Curry, Curator

When you hear “Hayward Area Historical Society” how many of you honestly realize that we actually talk about Castro Valley’s history too?  It’s the “Hayward” part of the name, I know.  But really we do! We care a lot about Castro Valley’s stories.  The history of Castro Valley is so intertwined with the history of Hayward and San Lorenzo that you really can’t talk about the history of any of our “areas” without mentioning the other.   That’s not to say that each community doesn’t have their own unique stories but rather, that there are many points throughout their histories where these communities connect. 

Let me give you an example. You can’t talk about education in Castro Valley without discussing how all high school students in CV attended Hayward High School until 1955.  Early pioneers and landowners to the valley such as Parsons, Stanton, and Strobridge all held positions as trustees in various Hayward businesses and fraternal organizations.   Sure, the communities may not be as intertwined today for a variety of reasons—population growth, expansion, city vs. county politics--but that doesn’t mean the connections are gone.

So when Heather Mellon, social media consultant and community cheerleader, brought David Ashton of CV Legends  to meet me and I listened to his crazy idea of doing a Castro Valley Pop-Up Museum, I thought that it was the perfect thing for HAHS to be involved in.  It lets us bring some of the history and the stories that we have uncovered to Castro Valley and see what other stories we find.

I would never say that HAHS knows everything or has the only interpretation of Castro Valley’s history  nor do we have nearly enough photographs and three dimensional artifacts to illustrate Castro Valley’s history.  We know a lot but there is always more to learn.  Everyone who lives in CV—past and present—has their story about Castro Valley.  I see the Pop-Up Museum as a way to share some of those stories.  The history museum equivalent to “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.” 

To that end, we’ll be bringing out lots of different components to the Pop-Up that we hope will inspire the sharing idea.  I’m not going to tell you everything that will be there, we want you to be intrigued enough to come to the event after all, but I will say that we’ll bring  some of the great, rarely seen historic  Castro Valley photos from our collection.  We encourage visitors to the Pop-Up to take a look at the photos, make comments or corrections, and even identify people they see in the images. 

The “you show me yours” side of things is a scanning station.  You bring a few photos of your family from around Castro Valley—maybe a family barbeque at the Community Center, a dance performance at the Fall Festival, graduation from CVHS, or even an image of goofing off in your backyard—and we’ll fill out a short form and scan the photos.  You get to keep the original images and HAHS gets the digital copy to add to our archives.  Then any future exhibitions or presentations could include your family photos and Castro Valley story too.  As the photos are scanned, we’re going to try to print them out and tack them to a board so the next visitor who comes in can see your contribution to the historical record.  And you know, a photo does not have to be old to be of historic value.  As the saying goes, “Yesterday is history.”   The photos can just as easily be from 2012 as 1912. 

At the end of the day though, the Castro Valley Pop-Up is not about HAHS.  It’s about Castro Valley’s history- its people and their stories of living here.   We hope you will walk away with a renewed interest in and pride in the community. 

So “pop in” people!  September 29 between 11 and 6 at 3324 Village Drive (the former Jordan’s bookstore location).  There will be a history lecture by yours truly at noon and a chance to meet the CV Legends at 3:00.

Let’s make some history!

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David Ashton September 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM
A little bird told me (you know why that phrase is funny) that we are starting to get attention from the museum community at large, lots of interested eyeballs from all over the place watching how this museum goes. Great article, great collaborators, thank you.


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