It’s 4:30 a.m. – not another “significant” twilight moment, but important enough to keep one from going back to sleep. What’s the question? All these local historical collections in our libraries, museums, and homes – “So what?” Time and time again, I hear people say, “They take up space, no one ever looks at them, put them in storage.” If we do that, how will the current generation and future generations of “Our River Town” learn about its rich and significant history of events, activities, and people?

For example; just last week, a few citizens discussed how the park area around the plaque commemorating Fed Wiseman’s air mail flight in 1911 might be enhanced in order to attract more visitors. In spite of the fact that Sonoma County has sponsored several celebration events and numerous newspaper articles have been published over the years, how many residents, today, have ever heard of Wiseman? Do they know the historical significance of his 1911 flight for Petaluma, Sonoma County and the country?

Although I was personally involved with the community’s Wiseman Centennial Celebration in 2011, I have forgotten many of the details about Wiseman’s life and what led up what was later considered a most significant historical event, and not a “fun” thing to do. Regular readers of this blog know that for the past several weeks we have highlighted history room collections, available to the public, that contain photographs, and newspaper articles about Fred J. Wiseman. One is the Petaluma Branch of the Sonoma County Library “history room.” and the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum. Volunteer docents are available to help visitors. If they are not available, staff is available that will write down your questions for the volunteers to answer.

It’s true, these resources are not used by large number of visitors; but  these collections are considered community “treasures.” Tours are also available for school children to learn about these collections. From to time, there are public activities that commemorate various historical events. Lest we forget our past, please visit these historical “Treasure Chests,” and become more knowledgeable about our community’s interesting past.

Stay tuned for future blogs about Wiseman Airport Park.

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