You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the behind-the-scenes work that goes into valuing, editing, recording, maintaining, preserving and displaying items in the Benicia Historical Museum’s collection. The Museum is a repository for civic and community records and documents; one that adds to Benicia’s pride and sense of place.
Most of the collection items have been donated or lent by Benicia’s citizens who trust the museum’s volunteers to take proper care of them. It’s no small job. Thanks to volunteers like Bev Phelan, who in her more than twenty years at the Museum, has logged in a whopping 36,400 hours. Much of her time is spent researching photos and documents for authors, publishers, historians, students and film companies.
To date, Bev and other Museum volunteers have accessioned about half of the Museum’s current collection. These include 9,358 photos, 2,838 objects, 1,427 archival documents and 76 books. The four buildings that comprise the Museum complex are rented from the City for $1 per year. To fund ongoing operations, in addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum hosts six concerts per year in the Spenger Garden, three temporary exhibits, lectures, Kid’s Day and other events. Bev Phelan, Jim and Robert Garrett, Bob Kasnikas, Fred Paine, the board of directors, the many docents and other volunteers are all critical components to the Museum’s success. Benicia’s namesake, Doña Benicia, would be proud. To become a member or learn more about the Museum, visit beniciahistoricalmuseum.org.