Collections Spotlight: Spring in California, 1903, John Marshall Gamble

John Marshall Gamble was born in Morristown, New Jersey on November 25, 1863. Gamble contributed significantly to the early California art scene. His paintings of lush hillsides decorated with vibrant lupines, poppies, mustard, lilacs, sage, and buckwheat have come to symbolize a bucolic picture of the California landscape at the turn of the century.

Collections Spotlight: Essie Parrish

Essie Parrish was the spiritual leader of Sonoma County’s Kashaya Pomo who preserved the language and
culture of her people. She raised 13 children, managed an apple cannery, was an accomplished basket weaver and, for many decades, provided spiritual focus for her people.

Collections Spotlight: Carrillo Family Album

The Museum of Sonoma County recently acquired a family album and scrapbook from the Carrillo family. As many Santa Rosa residents know, the Carrillo family arrived here around 1837 with matriarch Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo, namesake of Maria Carrillo High School. While the album and scrapbook don’t go back that far – after all, photography was just being born – they do reveal multiple generations of the Carrillo family in Sonoma County in later years.

Collections Spotlight: Brownie Mary’s Marijuana Cookbook and Dennis Peron’s Recipe for Social Change

June is Pride Month, celebrating victories in the LGBTQ rights movement. This June also marks 40 years since the CDC reported the first cases of HIV and AIDS in the United States. The story of the unlikely duo of Dennis Peron and “Brownie Mary” is an important part of the story of compassion and determination during the AIDS epidemic, a dark time in the LGBTQ community.

Fong Wan Spotlight: Renowned Chinese Herbalist…and Activist

Like many towns in California, Santa Rosa once had a Chinese section of the city. Most Chinese businesses in Santa Rosa were concentrated on Second Street by the 1890s, but two medicinal herb shops were among the exceptions. Both located on Fourth Street, the success of the shops demonstrated the ability of Chinese herbalists to find customers among the non-Asian community, even in times of overt anti-Chinese bigotry.

Behind the Scenes with Exhibitions, Programs, and Facilities Manager, Jon Del Buono

We know, his title is a mouthful (we're working on it). But behind everything that happens at MSC, you'll find Jon Del Buono. After more than 4 years at the Museum, let's hear more about his favorite projects, what challenges he faced in 2020, and what he's looking forward to.

Behind the Scenes with Collections Manager, Megan Kane

From the daily care of the collection, to preparing items for display in our exhibitions, to negotiating loan terms with other museums, let's see what a day in the life of a Collections Manager is like with our very own Megan Kane.

Collections Spotlight: Elizabeth Hoen’s Watercolor

As we make our way through Women’s History Month and learn more and more about the inspirational women of the past, let us learn a little bit about a groundbreaking woman in the Museum’s collection. Here at the Museum of Sonoma County, the very first painting that was cataloged into our collection was in fact by a woman! This small watercolor, only 5.5 by 3.25 inches, is by Santa Rosa-born artist Elizabeth Hoen and was painted in 1908.

Paid, Unpaid... Women's Work Visualized in Sculptures by Sawyer Rose

Guest curator of the 2022 exhibition Agency: Feminist Art and Power, Karen Gutfreund, addresses the life/work imbalance that affects women by highlighting the work of Sawyer Rose.

Behind the Scenes with Education and Volunteer Coordinator, Jenny Bath

Many of our members and visitors will recognize our Education and Volunteer Coordinator, Jenny Bath, who has been with the Museum since 2018. A jack of all trades, Jenny has assisted the Museum team in all departments, both as a volunteer and staff member. Let's catch up with Jenny and reflect on her time at MSC.

Collections Spotlight: Foo Dogs

As you read this, February 12 just passed, marking the beginning of the Lunar New Year, commonly referred to as Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Ox. While we contemplate what lies ahead in this new year, let us also take a moment to look back at the past and remember Santa Rosa’s very own Chinatown.

Behind the Scenes with Associate Director and History Curator, Eric Stanley

What have our staff been up to during these last ten months of sheltering in place? Let's catch up with our Associate Director and History Curator, Eric Stanley, to reflect on 2020 and look forward to 2021.

Velocipede Spotlight: A Look Back at Cycling in Sonoma County

In 2011, the Museum held an exhibition which explored the history and culture surrounding bicycles. Inspired by Jon Lacaillade’s velocipede in the 2020 Artistry in Wood exhibition, here's a look back at Sonoma County’s biking history with stories and images from the exhibition Customized: The Art and History of the Bicycle.

A Very Merry Mulled Wine Recipe

What would the holidays in Sonoma County be without a little mulled wine? Mulled wine is the perfect holiday beverage to drink on a cold day. Since its first recorded origins in 2nd century Rome, this hot spiced wine has been a consistent winter time favorite, spreading all across Europe and beyond. Though every culture, region, town, and family have their own variant, the basic ingredients of wine, spice, and fruit stay the same..

Collections Spotlight: Topaz Room Menu

We are in the thick of the holiday season, and there is no denying that our usual celebrations look very different in 2020 than in years past. As I was trying to reimagine the holidays in a new smaller version, I found some inspiration in an unexpected place, a vintage restaurant menu in the Museum’s collection.

Collections Spotlight: Rosenberg's Gift Box

As we enter the holiday shopping season, let’s remember a local business that served the shopping needs of Santa Rosa and the whole county for decades, Rosenberg’s Department Store. This striking box from Rosenberg’s is part of the Museum of Sonoma County’s permanent collection.

Collections Spotlight: What does a coconut have to say about the USPS?

The Museum has a special connection to the Postal Service, as our iconic building is the former 1910 Post Office. The US Postal Service has helped keep us united and connected for nearly two and a half centuries and in this Collections Spotlight, we highlight USPS with an unlikely object from our collection: a coconut.

Embroidered Suffragist Sunflower

In honor of National Voter Registration Day on September 22nd and the recent Centennial of the 19th Amendment, create your own embroidery featuring the colors (purple and gold) and symbol of the Suffragist movement (sunflower).

The Bracero Program

In 1942, President Roosevelt announced the creation of what would become the largest Mexican guest-worker program in U.S. history. Facing labor shortages on the home front during World War II, the United States initiated a series of agreements with Mexico to recruit Mexican men to work on American farms and railroads.

Christo: Legacy Remembered

Christo, who with his wife and partner, Jeanne-Claude, used sculpture to transform people’s understanding of places, iconic structures, and even mundane objects, died in New York on May 31 at the age of 84.

Collections Care During Closure

While our galleries may be closed to visitors, the Museum of Sonoma County continues our important and vital work of caring for our shared history and artistic heritage.

"Lansdcape" Artist Interview: Tony King

This week, we're catching up with local artist, Tony King. King is currently exhibiting in Landscape: Awe to Activism, along with fellow members of the "Sonoma Four." In the summer of 1992, the four Sonoma County artists, Tony King, William Morehouse, Jack Stuppin, and William Wheeler, set off on a cross-country trip from California to New York to make plein air paintings. Inspired by the explorations of earlier painters such as Thomas Hill, William Keith, and Thomas Moran, they made stops at locations such as Yosemite, Great Salt Lake, Snake River, Grand Tetons, and Mt. Rushmore. The results of that journey were displayed in a historic exhibition at the Century Association in New York City. The artists were dubbed the “Sonoma Four” by Press Democrat columnist Gaye LeBaron, and together they went on to exhibit their work at various venues such as Dominican College in Marin and John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco.

"Landscape" Artist Interview: Adam Wolpert

This week, we're catching up with Landscape: Awe to Activism artist Adam Wolpert. Adam Wolpert’s work employs a range of techniques and motifs to reflect a lifelong engagement with nature. His varied imagery explores the themes of cycles, relationships and balance, and investigates the subtle distinction between the representational and the abstract. His earlier naturalistic outdoor work speaks of his relationship with the land, in particular his home in West Sonoma County at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC).

Tutorial: DIY Playdough

Need to keep the mini-coworkers occupied, but don't want to run to the store to pick up playdough? In this tutorial, we'll make our own playdough, using ingredients that can be found in the pantry.

"Landscape" Artist Interview: Naomie Kremer

After sheltering in place for two weeks, we thought we'd check in with our Landscape: Awe to Activism artists. This week, we're catching up with Naomie Kremer.

"Grass Roots: Cannabis from Prohibition to Prescription" Q&A with the Co-Curators

Cannabis use generates strong, often divided opinions, but its story is undeniably significant. With installation for our upcoming exhibition underway, we sat down with the co-curators (Eric Stanley and Brian Applegarth) for a little Q&A.



Museum of Sonoma County
475 Seventh Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 579-1500

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The mission of the Museum of Sonoma County is to engage and inspire our diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant.