Archives Director’s Report 2020

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

Although this has been a challenging 8 months, work has gone forward on a limited basis at the museum.  Our collection department has worked on a different schedule with volunteers working independently or at a distance.  Since the last Annual Report, registrar Roberta Garrett and I have cleared the floors between cabinets, found new locations for large items and we are now working on the Peggy Martin estate.

Since the last Annual Report, our department has acquired two volunteers to work on research and the museum collection; Allen Gandy, presently a museum associate, and Nancy Stiltz who comes from Suisun City.  Again, we can work at a distance or independently.

We have received some very important items to Benicia history since November of 2019:  A Lansing Mizner document when he was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace in 1850, donated by Jim Lessenger;  St. Augustine student registers in Benicia from Janet Conn; four letters from Emma Rhoda Sharp Wood, a student at the Young Ladies Seminary to her cousin in Oakland, donated by Bob Kvasnicka; more Arsenal photos from Pam Kahl, granddaughter of Arsenal employee Josephine Cowell and writer of the book Benicia Arsenal; a Spanish Rapier (sword) from Reverend Roger Reaber; copies of daguerreotypes taken of the Frisbie-Walsh house donated by Dan and Karen Hamilton; two Cold War instruments  given by David Trojan; and documents on deed of the home owned by William L. Crooks (former Benicia mayor) given by Marion Castillo.

Requests for historic information have continued, as well as requests for copies of photos in our collection.  Visitors to our website are finding their family history in photos and documents.  Our photo archivist Bob Kvasnicka rescans photos at a high resolution for those requesting photos of their families or for local history.  If you would like a copy of a photo important to you or your business (and one that you can have enlarged), please email me at:  There is a charge of $25.00 per photo, which is sure to enhance your own collection.

We look forward to another year of preserving Benicia history and helping others find their own history.


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