This museum is a living collection that changes every time somebody brings something in. We don't throw things away out here. Everything u see has been donated. The Museum is dedicated to preserving the story of the Pleasant Valley. From fossil and mastodon displays to Indian artifacts and the personal belongings of the pioneer families, and the saga of oil, sheep, and cattle is told through the lives of the men, women and families who made it all happen. The lush San Joaquin Valley was a vast, inland sea, creating fossil beds around Coalinga that are among the largest in the world. The museum is home to a survivor of that period, a petrified snail, 15 inches long, 11 inches high and 13 inches wide. The museum occupies a space that once housed the first Baker Oil Tools machine shop. Mr. Baker purchased the former livery stable in 1918 so he would have a place to work out his equipment designs. It was on this floor that he would get down on his hands and knees with a blacksmith named Herman James (Helen
Cowan's Father) and drew his plans in yellow chalk. The Baker Foundation offered the old tool shop to the city for use as a museum in 1958. In 1961 the Museum officially opened. The original by-laws of the museum reflect the pioneering spirit of Coalinga.
Sell only items made in and around Coalinga; try to avoid applying for government grants so as to retain our independence; the public comes first; keep the museum open every day; let people feel and touch the exhibits; keep the cost of the annual dinner to minimum.
The R.C. Baker Memorial Museum is a collective memory of a community that helped fuel the American century. It is about the people who worked the land and created a spirit that has survived both the good and bad times. It is about us.
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