The Hattie Weber Museum of Davis greeted 3,476 visitors in fiscal year 2011-12, almost 1,000 more than the previous year, according to a recent annual report to the Davis City Council. A single-day record of 161 was set on Pig Day last March, the museum reported.
Visitors who signed the guest book (not all do) came from 60 California cities other than Davis, 28 states other than California, the District of Columbia and 14 countries other than the United States. They came from Mexico, China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Slovenia, Thailand, Brazil, Israel, Japan, England, France, Canada and Italy.
In addition to the permanent exhibits on the Davis family, the railroad, and UC Davis and Davis libraries, visitors viewed exhibits on Davis industries, brick honorees in the Rose Garden Patio, early office machines, the Works Public Administration in Davis, antique family Bibles, Christmas in Davis in 1898, Martin Luther King, Davis in the 1930s, antique valentines, suffrage movements in Davis and Woodland, Davis growth from 1870 to 1940, Bud Henle and his family, Davis city elections and 1948 attire from a Chiles family wedding.
Children were welcomed with Halloween treats and games, goodie bags at Christmas and Easter eggs. School groups and Scouts were given special tours. Young visitors also played with the museum’s antique toy reproductions.
Celebrations included the patio bricks dedication, a book-signing by the authors of a book about Woodland, Pig Day, Jim Becket’s 83rd birthday and his elevation to director emeritus, and the 20th anniversary of the opening of the museum.
Outside the museum, Gerri Adler and Dennis Dingemans gave tours of historic downtown Davis and the volunteers hosted booths at Celebrate Davis! and the Gibson House Spring Fling.
The museum is run entirely by volunteers, led by Dingemans, assistant director Adrian Gabriel and director emeritus Becket. Stella Dingers is the collection manager, Mary Lee Thomson is the exhibit coordinator, Roberta Stevenson is the senior docent, Merrilee Dupree is the researcher, and Mary Ann Harrison, Margaret Hill, Lorna Robier and Barbara King help with special events.
Volunteers are always welcome and there is plenty to do with collection management, publicity, financial record-keeping, exhibit construction and visitor greeting. No special knowledge is required.
Located at 445 C St. in the northeast corner of Central Park, the Hattie Weber Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Admission is free but donations are accepted with gratitude.