While conducting your LDS family search, it is possible to discover information about your family’s history through artefacts, original records; oral and written family stories and much more information that can help you build your family tree. Museums often house many family’s ethnic and genealogical records collected by the local historical society. A museum is an organization that displays artefacts, records, and other exhibits of historical, cultural, military, or natural interest to the general public. Not only can you visit the museum to view these artefacts and exhibits in person, but you can also view them on the museum’s web site. Genealogists, lawyers, writers, students, historians, and teachers and professors alike visit museums and use their artefacts and other sources of information for their research.
During my travels, I often visit museums to conduct my own LDS family search, or to conduct research to help my clients build their own family trees. I use online resources such as local chambers of commerce for the areas I plan to visit, to locate local museums. I contact the museum staff via email to inquire about where the museum is located, hours of operation and what artefacts, genealogical records, and special collections are housed there. In the email I send to the staff I also ask if a curator or docent is available to assist me with my research. I also schedule my museum visits around special events, like those hosted by the historical society. In this article, we will discuss three museums that I personally frequent: the Lake County courthouse museum located in the heart of California’s wine country, where I have been a museum docent since 2006, the Historic Charleston museum, located in Charleston South Carolina, and the Louis A. Turpen aviation museum located inside the San Francisco International Airport, which I visited numerous times during the time I worked for United Airlines.
Lake Country Courthouse Museum
The first museum I will discuss is the Lake County courthouse museum, located in Lakeport California. Many museum researchers found this museum via the Lake County visitor’s centre located in Lakeport, or the Lake County genealogical society, with a library inside the visitor’s centre, located in CajenWeb. Our museum has an educational outreach program with volunteer docents visiting third and fourth grade students in their classrooms throughout our local school district. During the visit, these students learn about the Native Americans who lived in the United States before the first settlers arrived from foreign lands, they also learn about settlers who came to California during the Gold Rush of 1849.
Some of the settlers may have included some of the students’ own ancestors. The Docents pass around artefacts that include: Pomo Indian rabbit fur, antique baby blankets, and Wells Fargo stage coach lanterns. During school field trips to the museum, these students, their parents, and instructors are given a guided tour by our docents to see the Indian gun and outlaw exhibits. Many students hold mock trials in the museum’s well preserved courtroom. During these mock trials, the students are very tough, and the student jurors always find the defendants guilty. After the mock trials, students are required to write papers and make drawings that give an account of what the experience has taught them. The artwork and essays that have been written and produced by these legal scholars have been added to our exhibition as a new source of information for people to use for their LDS family search.
The Lake County courthouse museum preserves many records for genealogists to use in their research, which include, but are not limited to: documented records of the Pomo Indian tribe, and pioneer records, such as a ten thousand page history written by historian Henry Mauldin. The museum also houses historical Lake County court records, such as trials, hearings, and property deeds, as well as four thousand historic photographs, which includes those of British actress Lilly Langtry, who’s 1897 divorce was finalized in the museum’s courthouse. If you plan to visit the museum in the near future, Curator Linda Lake recommends that you email the museum staff to request specific information you need for your research. Some family historians and genealogists have often provided the museum with their own original documentation and photos for our collections. If you are looking for more recent court records, be sure to visit the Lake County courthouse, which is located across the street from the museum itself. For more genealogical resources to help you build your family tree, visit the Lake County genealogical and historical societies.
The Charleston Museum
The Charleston Museum, located in downtown Charleston North Carolina, was the first American museum, established in 1773. If you think you have ancestors who served during the Civil War, this museum is a wonderful place to search for any information about your veteran ancestors. The museum’s weapons and uniform exhibits spotlight the roles that soldiers from that time period played in the North Carolina Confederate army. Before you visit the museum, you may want to visit the archives.com web site for newspaper files and other information to find your ancestors who were war veterans. If you contact the museum to get information about your ancestors, docents will be happy to show you regimental histories covering the men who served in the North Carolina confederate army, and their battles. The Charleston museum is located at 360 Meeting Street Charleston, SC 29403. You may contact them by phone at 843-722-2996.
Louis Turpen Aviation Museum
The Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, located inside the International terminal of the San Francisco International Airport, houses artefacts pertaining to the lives of airline pilots, stewards and stewardesses and aviation hero’s. According to the museum’s librarian Julie Takata, the records and archives trace the aviation development in the West coast and throughout the countries along the Pacific Ocean, which include several historical manuscripts and oral accounts, from pilots such as solo flier Amelia Ear hart. The Museum is located in an 11 thousand square foot facility, which was designed after the 1937 original waiting area for airport passengers. The museum preserves seventeen thousand artefacts, and has an 8000 volume library that is dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. Your children will especially enjoy talking to the retired airline employees, who volunteer at the museum. If you plan to visit the museum, be sure to visit their web site, and then call the librarian for an appointment. You will not need a boarding pass to visit the museum, as it is located in the airport before you reach the security check point. The Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library is located on the departure level of the international terminal, and there is no charge for admission. You can call the librarian at 650-821-9900 to schedule a tour of the museum.