The following article first appeared in the December 20, 1967 edition of the Ojai Valley News on its front page. It is reprinted here with their permission.
Museum set for expansion
The Ojai Valley Museum brings to a close, at the end of this month, its first year of service to the valley. The future looks even brighter, with expansion as the goal for the 1968 year.
This week, officers and directors launched the museum’s contribution membership drive, which is expected to finance the operation in the coming year. The proposed budget for the next 12 months is $2,638. Last year’s expenses were about $200 less.
Fund chairman A. C. Dahlgren announced that membership applications may be obtained by writing to the Ojai Valley Museum, 841 E. Ojai ave., Ojai. Many of the applications have already been sent to prospective members and to those who participated in its founding.
Also sent to charter members and now available to interested persons is the museum’s 1967 yearbook, telling of the expansion ahead and the services offered the public by the museum.
The expansion program provides for the removal of the existing wall at the museum, to open up the rear room for additional displays. The project, including construction of new partitions, painting, and tile floor, is expected to cost $375, with voluntary labor.
New display cases are also planned, including those of subdued lighting for the expanded area. Cost is estimated at $725.
In addition to these plans for improvement of display facilities, the museum is interested in two other phases of development. The first is the broadening of its function to include an historical association, with the museum acting as a display facility and storehouse for records, artifacts, and other material. The museum officers are also planning for the organization of a Junior Museum for the benefit of the youth in the Ojai and Cuyama valleys.
This proposal was made at the time of formation but the directors have been without the guidance and assistance of individuals who could successfully plan and conclude such a function. Directors invite the assistance of individuals who would pursue either of these plans.
Robert O. Browne, museum president, said, “Generous contribution – memberships have made this a successful year. We solicit your membership or renewal in order to continue the operation of the museum in the years ahead.”
“Your museum is sustained only by the financial and physical help of civic minded individuals in the community. With your support the museum will grow and continue to provide the only existing local depository for items of historical significance in our community and for the documentation of history of this area. The Ojai Valley Museum, Inc. is organized as and educational, charitable institution. Contributions made are deductible by donors; bequests, legacies, transfers or gifts are deductible for federal estate and gift tax purposes,” the president revealed.
On Nov. 14, 1966 the Ojai Valley Museum was born. John Shea chaired the first meeting on that date. Committees were appointed to formulate by-laws and articles of incorporation.
Its purpose was fourfold;
1) To establish a museum in the valley.
2) To encourage study and research in the field of California’s history with special emphasis on the Ojai and Cuyama valley, to collect historical material including manuscripts, documents, books, pictures and artifacts and make them available for study.
3) To restore and preserve landmarks and sites of historical value in the valley.
4) To cooperate with the other organizations doing work of a related nature.
Two open meetings were then scheduled and the public was invited. The flame began to burn brighter and in March, 1967, the first annual meeting was held, Officers and directors were elected and plans for the displays were formulated.
On April 18, the official opening exercises were held. Assemblyman Ken MacDonald and Supervisor Ralph “Hoot” Bennett were among the 200 visitors.
The directors are indebted to the many individuals who provided the funds for this first year of operation and to the many craftsmen who supplied the labor and materials without cost.
The museum is in a sublease agreement with the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber not only provides for keeping the museum open during the week, but also shared in the expense of the operation. A review of the budget discloses that the financial help which the museum can seek for 1968 amounts to $2,638 or approximately $7.25 per day.
Officers of the museum are R. O. Browne, president; B. A. Lawrence, secretary; A. C. Dahlgren, treasurer. Directors include Effie Skelton, Tyrus Kahman, Lois Powers, William Magill and Elizabeth Thacher.