Museum Goes International: Voice of America, Washington D.C., filmed a program on the New Mark Twain Exhibit and the Angels Camp Museum for Asian broadcast to all Chinese speaking peoples — e.g. Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China.
Huell Howser visits the Angels Camp Museum to produce a “California Gold” program about the Museum’s new Mark Twain Exhibit. Photo taken May 15, 2010, while filming a program for his very popular PBS TV production “California Gold”, which will air later this Summer. Stay tuned for date of this program featuring the Museum’s New Mark Twain Exhibit.
Written by Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat February 11, 2009
A renowned Mark Twain expert and his students will help the Angels Camp museum give a better account of the man who put the town on the worldwide map.
Gregg Camfield, a professor at the University of California, Merced, has researched the famed author extensively. Camfield has agreed to enlist the help of students in his Mark Twain class to create and curate an exhibit on the man who might have been just as much a character as the characters he created.
The professor and 16 students attended a reception at the museum Sunday to kick off their endeavor.
“A museum is living. If we do it right, this will keep changing…and evolving. We could keep mining this material for a very long time,” Camfield said of the future exhibit. “This has been the Mother Lode’s attic for over a century.”
The proposed exhibit will include digitized collections to “give the aficionados who want to get deep into it” a lot to work with, he said.
The connection to spark the project was made when Camfield’s mother, a Sonora resident, “bumped into” museum foundation director Clea Lynch and they got to talking about the need for an improved exhibit and Camfield’s body of Twain research, he said.
“It got back to (Museum Director) Bob (Rogers). He called me. I said I was interested,” Camfield said.
The class had just finished reading some of Twain’s earliest works before coming to the museum.
One of the students will work on researching grant possibilities from public and private resources to assist with the project.
Camfield is excited about coaxing out the stories that longtime local residents have to tell about Twain and other local history while the opportunity is still available.
“There are human resources here in Angels Camp but we’re going to lose them if we’re not talking to them very soon,” he said.
Students Amber Kirby and Demitra Borrero, both juniors in Camfield’s class, will return to Angels Camp throughout the semester to collect those tales.
Already at a coffee shop Sunday, Borrero was impressed by the helpful and friendly nature of a coffee shop owner who took them right to the doorstep of a local historian upon hearing of their task.
“We’re looking forward to hearing a lot more about the area,” Borrero said.
Kirby had already gained more insight about Twain’s disdain for the Roosevelts early into her visit, with his antipathy toward Theodore Roosevelt well documented, but learning more about his nephew Franklin’s role in shutting down gold mining decades after Twain’s death with the start of World War II.
She said the best part of their research will be, after reading much of what Twain had to say about the Mother Lode, “hearing what this town has to say about Mark Twain.”
“This is a great opportunity (for students) to put research to work,” Camfield said.
Contact Sean Janssen at email@example.com
January 15th, 2010, by Greg Kristapovich, Sierra Mountain Times
Simply driving by, one cannot perceive just how large the museum complex is! In fact, the Angels Camp Museum is comprised of four separate buildings, teeming with artifacts and overflowing with Mother Lode history! A huge barn contains mining artifacts, while another is a “garage” for 29 antique carriages! The main building, easily visible from the street, is crammed with fascinating antiques and relics—and even has a mini theatre where folks can watch “Jump”, the official “Frogumentary” about Angels Camp’s Frog Jump Jubilee! Curator Bob Rogers recently took this reporter on a two-hour tour of the museum; and one word can describe the place: Incredible! “A lot of people don’t realize it, but this property is part of the Angels Mine!” Rogers revealed. “The claim goes back to the 1850’s! The reason Angels Camp was such a center of hard-rock (gold imbedded quartz ore) mining—and there were nine mines between Bret Harte High School and Angels Creek—is because the three veins of Mother Lode came together here! We have two of them under this property!
The Mother Lode is the most complex geological area in the world and there are 200 miles of mining tunnels and shafts under Angels Camp” Rogers exclaimed, while also discussing the gold-mining exploits of the Henry Angel, James Carson and Dan and John Murphy! “We also have one of the largest and most diverse collections of mining equipment that exists in the Mother Lode!” Rogers stated with pride, adding “I’ve seen visitors to our museum spend as much as an entire day here!” There are videos and vintage photographs ready to view, and lots of artifacts displayed that reflect early pioneer life – including fixtures from the original post office in Angels Camp, and typewriters; the type that Mark Twain, himself, would have used! “And we have one of the finest patent medicine bottle collections! It’s just amazing! It rivals the Smithsonian!” Rogers opined. Indeed, there is a lot to see at the museum!
The Angels Camp Museum started in 1851, and under Roger’s oversight, continues to expand magnificently! “We’re going to build an1850s mining camp in the back! We’ve got three acres, that’s what’s interesting!” Rogers exclaimed. “Incidentally, we also own the old Altaville School, up the street – which is the oldest surviving schoolhouse in California!” He noted, adding that they are working on a new Mark Twain exhibit! The Angels Camp Museum is located at 753 South Main Street, (right across from Rodz Grille), and is open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is a very modest $4 (and worth every penny!) Children 6 -16 pay only a dollar! This museum could very well be the “crown jewel of the Mother Lode”! Check it out sometime!