The Mooney Grove Museum in Visalia is preparing for a major expansion.

June 25, 2008 10:25:36 PM PDT
Mooney Grove Park offers a serene escape with lakes, ducks and tall trees. Right in the middle sits the Mooney Grove Museum full of items from the South Valley's rich past. Now, the county is starting to carve out a new path for this museum with plans to devote an entire building to farm workers in Tulare County.Museum curator Kathy McGowan says, "There isn't really a museum that we've been able to find that really tells the total story of farm labor and I mean going back from the way the Native Americans used the land."

Most of the historic farm equipment will go in the new farm labor museum. Officials not only want to tell the story of today's farm worker but also of farm workers past.

Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida says, "I think the whole Valley needs to recognize the contributions of people who worked in agriculture. This contribution goes over many ethnic groups of many different nationalities.

The new museum will also feature brand new exhibits. The county has designed a two-story steel building that looks like a red barn.

McGowan says, "It'll provide a really state-of-the-art place where we can really do these exhibits. It will provide us a multi-purpose room that can kind of act as a theater and a classroom for students."

Right now the museum sees about 20,000 visitors a year. Tulare County leaders hope the new building will make Mooney Grove Park more of a tourist destination. Ishida says, "We know it will attract tourists because a lot of people want to know about the people who work in agriculture. Their parents and their grandparents worked in agriculture even though they live in the city.

Tulare county is having a public meeting tomorrow at the Board of Supervisors chambers at 5pm where they'll talk about the project. Officials hope to break ground on the new building in a couple months.


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