A new exhibit at the Hattie Weber Museum celebrates 100 Picnic Days with early photographs, program covers and a colorful montage of the 1981 parade, which featured bands, Scouts, ROTC marchers, horse-drawn farm equipment, floats, a cow billed as future ice cream and one with a hole in her stomach!
While it has been 105 years since the first Picnic Day when University Farm students, faculty and 2,000 visitors celebrated the opening of the dairy barn on campus, the festivities were canceled in five different years.
In 1924, it was because of an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in the university cattle herd. In 1938, it was because of construction delays in the new campus gym and from 1942 through 1944 it was because the U.S. Army occupied the campus for Signal Corps training and there were no students. Thus, it is not until 2014 that the count reached 100.
Other current exhibits include “A Force for Good” featuring the contributions of women’s organizations to the community since the Women’s Improvement Society was organized in 1905 to help lure the University Farm School to Davis.
The “Purple Circle” exhibit shows prize-winning purebred livestock raised on farms and ranches around Davis as well as at UC Davis. Other exhibits explain the history of Davis and UCD as well as the history of the Davis Public Library and the Lincoln Highway, which once ran through the town.
The museum is at 445 C St. in Central Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays .
Admission is free, but donations to help restore the park’s 1937 WPA building are accepted with gratitude.