by the Martinez Historical Society

The Martinez Historical Society is managed by a 15 member Board of Directors. The Society operates these facilities:

  • The Martinez Museum
  • The Local History Library
  • The Martinez Archive of Historic Photographs & Other Source Documents.

The Society’s all-volunteer staff provides the following services to the community:

    Museum Facilities

    • Operation of the Martinez Museum (in the 1890 Borland House). No charge for admission.
    • Permanent Exhibits at the Martinez Museum.
    • New rotating exhibits which are kicked off with an Open House to attract visitors to our downtown.
    • Special tours of the Museum for out-of-town visitors, groups, clubs, school children and VIP’s.

    Research & Library Facilities

    • Maintain a Local History Library -- of published materials.
    • Maintain the Archive of Martinez historic photos & other source documents – of unpublished materials.
    • Aid visitors in utilizing materials in the Library and Museum archives to research their family history, the history of their house, the history of their business, or the history of Martinez.
    • Provide assistance to citizens researching the Museum’s collection of thousands of historic photographs.
    • Research, planning & fund-raising with the City of Martinez for a regional museum and a Joe DiMaggio Museum in the Old Train Depot.
    • Survey of Martinez businesses over the last 6 decades. This is a large joint project with Central Costa County Sanitary District (Central San).
    • An Oral History Program. Both video and audio tape are used to capture first-hand accounts of local history by the City’s old timers with the help of volunteers from five other groups: Alhambra Creek Restoration & Environmental Educational Collaborative (ACREEC), Alhambra Valley Creek Coalition, Friends of Alhambra Creek (FOACO), Muir Heritage Land Trust and Environmental Studies Academy (ESA).

    Education in the Community

    • Place historic markers (bronze plaques) on notable buildings and historic sites for informational purposes. Plaque ceremonies are coordinated with property owners, the City or E Clampus Vitus, and occur onsite.
    • A new initiative to create storyboards or interpretation panels in Martinez. The first board was unveiled by the mayor in 2015 at the Brown Mausoleum in the pioneer Alhambra Cemetery.
    • Guided Downtown Walking Tours of historic Martinez.
    • Also a self-guided walking tour brochure -- published by the Society and made available to visitors at the Martinez Tourist Bureau, the Juror Assembly Room and City Hall. And also at other locations.
    • A Martinez Cemetery Walking Tour brochure – published by the Society with input from the Cemetery Commission -- for use by the public.
    • Publishing projects. Among the books are these recent publications:
      • Images of America: Martinez -- a pictorial history of the City
      • The Borland Home: a History of the House & Guide to the Museum
      • Martinez: A Handbook of Houses & History
      • To All Enquiring Friends: Nantucketers in Martinez and San Francisco
      • Martinez: a California Town (newly republished)
      • Mailed from Martinez – a project now underway (to be published next year)
    • Off-site displays. Examples are the recent displays of Martinez history set up at City Hall.
    • Sponsorship of state-wide conferences and workshops with themes relating to history.

    Schools & Academia

    • Sponsorship of the Teacher of the Year award issued each year by the Chamber of Commerce.
    • Age-appropriate tours of the Museum for 3rd graders in the Martinez School District.
    • Provision of curriculum materials to the schools relating to the community and local history.
    • Scholarship program for high school seniors and internship program for college students.

    Communication & Promoting Awareness of History

    • A bi-monthly newsletter. The newsletter publicizes current programs, exhibits and special events. It also features well-researched and professionally written articles on Martinez history in each issue.
    • Operates three websites. The main site receives 260 visitors per day and is used as a resource by local schools – especially prior to field trips by school children to the Museum, the Cemetery and our historic downtown.
    • Operates two Facebook pages:
    • The Martinez History Lecture Series at the Senior Center. The following are sample lecture topics:
      • “The Italians of Martinez” by Angelo Costanza
      • “Celebrate and Commemorate the Martinez Canteen (WW II USO)” by Barbara Hannafan
      • “The Alhambra Creek and Its Watershed” by Igor Skaredoff
    • Martinez Memories. These are a series of movies periodically shown at the Martinez Library.
    • Quarterly lectures or multi-media presentations for the public (in addition to those listed above) on a variety of subjects. Examples: Martinez Postcards, Hands-on Workshop with Historic Kaleidoscopes and more.
    • Providing volunteers to speak to the jury pool about Martinez history when handing out Main Street Martinez packets to encourage jurors to leave the courthouse, explore the town and patronize downtown businesses.
    • Providing volunteers to speak about our fascinating history at public events. Examples: the Homecoming Parade, the Youth Baseball Parade and the Nancy Boyd Park re-dedication ceremony.

Other Events

  • Ceremonies to unveil historic markers in the community.
  • Crab Feed -- with prizes designed to raise awareness of local merchants.
  • Holiday Open House to enable the public to view the Christmas decorations at the Martinez Museum.
  • Holiday Frolic. The Museum becomes a “gingerbread house” where children do crafts and learn history.
  • Mini Motorland -- where young children operate miniature vehicles, stop at a miniature museum and both see and handle historic artifacts. The event is sponsored by the City of Martinez Recreation Department.
  • Afternoon Teas. These are formalized or ritual gatherings for the traditional small meal called afternoon tea.
  • Historic Home Tour. The tour showcases notable historic homes in Martinez and provides the public with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the interior of these privately owned homes. The John Muir Association, the National Park Services and sponsors such as Shell all assist. April 2015


Martinez Historical Society

1005 Escobar Street - Martinez, CA 94553  (925) 228-8160