Museum Exhibits

The County Museum's collections focus on the history of El Dorado County.  Exhibits begin with baskets and tools made by skilled artists of the Maidu, Miwok and Washoe Native American people who lived in the area before and after the Gold Rush.  Finely made feasting baskets in the traditional designs and portable grinding rocks are just a few of the artifacts on display.

image of Baskets

Gold mining equipment, such as stamp mills, gold pans, and other tools are on display.  A rare wheelbarrow made by John M. Studebaker in the 1850s, authenticated by Studebaker when he visited Placerville in 1912, is also on display.  

Gold soon became hard to find, and many people turned to other ways to make a living. El Dorado County became a center for ranching, vineyards, and fruit orchards. Many pioneers operated stores, hotels and businesses. Schools, churches and civic organizations were established. 

Outside, a five-stamp mill used to crush rock, a large flywheel powered by a steam engine ore cars, an orchard sprayer and antique farming tools show what it was needed to get the job done.  Artifacts from the past such as a sheepherder’s covered wagon, a parlor from a fine home, and a General Store, c. 1900 are also on display.

Uniforms from the Museum's Collection
June 2015-May 2017

The military uniforms on exhibit are from the Historical Museum's Collection. As with other artifacts on exhibit throughout the Museum, these uniforms were donated to the Museum over the years by the men and women who wore them or by their families. The earliest uniform dates from 1910 and the latest one is 1963. These years span “The War to End all Wars” also known as World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Military Uniforms are by definition, designed to be “read” and understood. The insignia – patches, badges, buttons, pins are there to show to what group the wearer belongs, and where the wearer fits into the military structure. 
One of the uniforms on exhibit was worn by Robert France who served during World War I. His uniform tells us that he was  a member of the “Big Red One” aka First Infantry Division (shoulder patch);  in the Infantry (collar buttons);  the rank of Private (red chevron on the left sleeve); and overseas for at least 12 months (two gold chevrons on the left sleeve pointing down). 

Robert France received the World War I Victory Ribbon and the “Pershing” Medal, also known as the medal for Army Occupation of Germany 1918-1923.
Another uniform, worn by Maria Steinhaur, tells us that she was a member of the US Army Nurse Corps during World War II. On her sleeve is the US Army Meritorious Unite Award and on her lapels are the distinctive insginia of the Army Nurse Corps, a gold caduceus with the 'N' in black enamel.
Other uniforms from the Museum's Collection on display are:
 US Army Medical Corps, 1910-1912
 US Army, World War II
 US Navy, World War II
 US Marine Corps, World War I
 US Marine Corps, World War II
 US Marine Corps, 1955
This collection is not comprehensive, nor are the uniforms complete in some cases. They are the uniforms as they were donated to the County Museum. Research continues on the individual uniforms and insignia, as well as the individuals who wore them.
Please join us in honoring the men and women who wore these uniforms in service to their country.

Do you have an artifact to donate?

If your artifact is from El Dorado County and is yours to donate, please contact Mary Cory.  You can email a photograph, a description of its condition and history, and Mary will bring it to the Historic Museum Commission for their review.