The Mission Of The West County Museum
The purposes of the Museum are: (1) to collect and preserve artifacts, objects, publications, photographs and other documentary materials related to local, ethnic and family history; (2) to disseminate information about the history of the community through exhibits, educational programs and publications based on the Society’s collections; (3) to maintain a research library of past and current literature on the history of the community; and (4) to encourage the preservation of the historical, architectural and archeological heritage of Sebastopol and surrounding towns in the West County.
To achieve these purposes the Society carries out a broad program of activities including: maintenance of the museum and Reference Room at the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Depot, 261 South Main Street, Sebastopol; periodically changing exhibits, educational programs; publications; preservation of the Society’s collections and archival materials; research on the history of Sebastopol; landmark identifications; and cooperation with other local historical societies and organizations.
P&SR RAILROAD DEPOT
The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Electric Railway Depot built in 1917 was designed by Brainerd Jones, noted Petaluma based architect. The Western Sonoma County Historical Society in cooperation with the City of Sebastopol undertook the restoration of the Depot in 1980’s restoring to near replication of the period of 1900’s. Completion of the restoration and opening of the West County Museum was in 1993 and opened with an exhibit on the Railroads. The Depot was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1996.
TRIGGS REFERENCE ROOM LIBRARY
The museum houses three sections of interest. The Triggs Reference Room, the Jim Nagy Memorial Gallery, and the main exhibit area with a small gift shop. The Triggs Reference room includes local authors as well as national publications with the West County as focus.
There are two Arcadia Books with local focus, written by West County Museum Staff. They are titled Sebastopol’s Gravenstein Apple Industry and Sebastopol.
There are also family histories from local folks, newspaper clippings of local families and businesses and P&SR Railroad history.
A collection of Oral Histories on tape and video are also in the reference room. The interviews tell of each person’s recollections of early days in West County.
The museum has hard bound editions of the Sebastopol Times and Sonoma West Times newspapers from 1942-2018, donated by Rollie Atkins owner of the Sonoma West Times
You will also find a collection of enlarged City maps dating from 1888 to the 1960’s.
Museum exhibits are changed two times a year, and focus on Sebastopol and west Sonoma County history. There are two permanent exhibits in the Jim Nagy Memorial Gallery. Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway History and Sebastopol’s Story and details both subjects in depth. Past exhibits have explored movies filmed in Sonoma County, World War II Experiences on the Home Front, the Apple Festivals and Fairs, Early Lighting Devices, Pomo Indians, the Hippies, and others.
There are over 7,000 donated photographs in our collection. Each one is identified, scanned for preservation, and placed in archival material. Some of the many topics the photographs covered are people, businesses, landscape, and historic homes, schools and town events. A link to our photograph collection can be seen at www.heritage.sonomalibrary.org/digital/
The museum has a collection of artifacts which are used periodically for exhibits. Most have been donated and have a connection to the west county. Each object is identified, the source it was obtained from, cataloged and photographed.
Our gift shop contains such books covering Luther Burbank, local Sebastopol history, the Railroads, and local pioneer books authored by local writers. There are Railroad map posters, west county scenes stationary, P&SR logo t-shirts and caps.
ON GOING EVENTS
Bi-monthly Spring Hill Cemetery clean-up project
Sebastopol Museum is open Thursday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm
Group tours are available by appointment.
Location: 261 South Main Street, next door to the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce and across from the Post Office. Phone 707-829-6711