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An evening at the Corning museum
Guests received a sneak-peek into the Olive City's past at the Corning in the Evening on Thursday, held at the town's newly renovated museum.
"This is the first event we have held since the project to remodel and improve the museum began," said Jenessa Geer Lowden, Cal Poly student who is organizing and spear-heading the work as her senior project.
As the 50 or-so visitors entered the door, they were met by a large display focused entirely on the history of the area's olive industry.
"This goes hand-in-hand with the upcoming Olive Festival," said Chamber of Commerce Manager Valanne Cardenas. "That is when the renovated museum will first be open to the community is during the Aug. 24 and 25th event."
One of the displays in the olive exhibit is a clothes-line with past, and the current, Olive Festival T-shirts hanging from it — fitting in perfectly with Lowden's theme for the museum, "Where the Past Becomes the Present."
Moving past the olive exhibit, guests found an exhibit honoring the Rodgers Theatre, featuring a row of old theater seats, the original candy machine, posters of movies past and a few reels of the movies themselves.
One of the highlights in the theater exhibit is the actual antique piano played during the theater's silent movie era.
Making a quick turn, visitors came upon the next exhibit, one sure to please kids and railroad enthusiasts tremendously.
The large display, set behind glass, is a section of William Crawford's scale 3/6 inch to the foot, handmade railroad reenactment he started building in his West Street home attic in 1950. On a grand scale the display features a engines, train-cars, tracks, tunnel, valley, mountains, trees, depot, turnouts and switches, and much, much more.
"After Mr. Crawford passed away his family sectioned the display and donated this part to the museum, and then kept parts for themselves," explained Museum Board Member Carol Powers.
As he strolled around the exhibits, Lennie Barbo of Corning, commented on the improvements at the museum.
"This is neat, I really like it," he said.
Erick and Victoria Bartel, owners of Bartel's Burgers, also found the museum renovations impressive.
"It looks great and I understand there are plans for more," said Victoria.
Those additional plans include the Corning High School Cardinal memorabilia room, Hotel Maywood exhibit and a "family" exhibit featuring a historic farm kitchen.
Lowden said she was shocked at the turnout, and pleased at reactions from the Corning in the Evening guests.
"This has all been about teamwork on the part of the museum members and board, myself and countless volunteer hours," she said.
She recognized her father, Roy Geer, describing him as the "slave labor" who constructed several of the display backdrops.
Also recognized were the volunteers who helped paint the inside of the museum and those who moved displays, cleaned, organized and sorted through stored museum pieces.
"It is amazing how this community has supported this project," Lowden said. "This is my hometown and it is awesome."
Corning in the Evening is a monthly event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and hosted by different businesses and organizations in the community.