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'Her Side of the Story' at Museum on Main

Exhibit on California's pioneer women open through December
A photo of a woman standing across from the Yosemite falls in 1902.

Pleasanton's Museum on Main is currently featuring a touring exhibit that highlights the hardships, joys and lives of female pioneers in California.

"Her Side of the Story: Tales of California Pioneer Women" is a traveling exhibit developed by the Society of California Pioneers that focuses on 30 first-person accounts from women who settled throughout California prior to January 1, 1854.

The basis of the exhibit is a single ledger that contains over 800 handwritten stories of California pioneer women that is meant to create a more complete understanding of the state's history by highlighting women's voices and experiences.

According to a news release from the museum, the Association of Pioneer Women of California, a group that was formed in the early 1900s and disbanded in the '70s, were the ones who collected and preserved these women's experiences in the ledger.

"We're very excited to host this exhibit," Museum on Main curator Ken MacLennan said in the news release. "The Society has collected some amazing stories about women's experiences in the early years of statehood, and this is a great way to present them."

The exhibit, which is open in downtown Pleasanton until Dec. 30, also has a section of 40 diverse portraits of unidentified women who represent the thousands of pioneers whose stories were never recorded.

In addition to viewing the exhibition, teachers, historians and researchers will be able to access the ledger and can search through the digital transcriptions of each story to learn more about the experiences of these women and their journeys to California.

"To enhance the images and text of the exhibit, Museum on Main has included a variety of relevant historic and reproduction items from its collections, including an early Singer sewing machine, a barrel-style butter churn, and the 1860s-style dress that Beverly Eckley wore when playing General Alfred Pleasonton's sister Laura in civic and classroom appearances with her husband Ormond, who portrayed the general himself," the news release stated.


About the Author: Christian Trujano

Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education.
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