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How Menifee historical museum is faring after its first year

By in Press Enterprise on May 17, 2017

By Michael Williams

After one year in operation, the Menifee Valley Historical Museum is alive and thriving, and its success will be commemorated with an anniversary celebration Sunday, May 21.

The free family-oriented event, which will feature tours, children’s activities and refreshments, will happen from 1 to 4 p.m. at the museum, 26301 Garbani Road.

“We showcase the various aspects of Menifee from the early days,” said President Elinor Martin of the Menifee Valley Historical Association. “All our exhibits are pretty impressive.”

The volunteer group launched the museum in May 2016 after securing the use of two classrooms in an elementary school closed by the Menifee Union School District in the last decade.

“We were looking for a way to bring all the artifacts in the personal and private collections of our members into one place,” said association Vice President Bill Zimmerman. “We knew we had enough to create a museum.”

The museum opens its doors to the public on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and will arrange visits for groups of 10 or more people on other days, Martin said.

“We average anywhere from 10 to 30 visitors when the museum is open on Sundays,” Martin said.

Martin, who is descended from a pioneering Menifee couple who arrived in 1890, is the co-author of the book “Images of America: Menifee” with Betty Bouris, another descendent of a longtime valley family.

Highlights of the museum include exhibits on Native Americans who occupied the land for at least hundreds of years, the valley’s agricultural legacy, and gold mining, which flourished in the mid- to late 19th century.

“Since opening a year ago, we’ve been adding a lot of displays, artifacts and memorabilia,” Zimmerman said.

In addition to the items in the museum, visitors provide a living history complementing the displays, Zimmerman said.

“It’s especially rewarding for docents like myself when someone who has […]    

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