There are signs of pending completion of the repair and refurbishment of the Historical Museum in downtown Riverbank.
Although it has not reopened yet, the new paint on the exterior is obvious to passersby at the 3237 Santa Fe Street location. And recently, a new banner was installed on the front of the building promoting the upcoming celebration of the museum’s centennial, in September.
A grant from the Carnegie Foundation in 1921 helped fund a library for the citizens of Riverbank. It served the community from 1921 to 1975, when the county took over local library services and built the new branch building further east on Santa Fe.
Today, the building serves as the city’s museum and repository of the history of the Riverbank area.
Those traveling the area also may have noted a mysterious black tower that has risen out of the grass in front of the building. Though no indication of what hides inside the tarp wrapped around it has been reported, museum officials say all will be answered on Sept. 13, at 6 p.m., when the official celebration will kick off.
They also say the celebration will include the reopening of the facility to the public, subject to change under COVID guidelines, and beverages and snacks will be served.
The Riverbank Historical Society is a 501-C-3 non-profit corporation with an all-volunteer membership. This group manages all operations of the Riverbank Historical Museum and Society.
The library was built with money from the Carnegie Foundation combined with donations from the community, in 1921. The building became a museum in 1994 when the historical society was formed to operate and care for it.
The facility was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in February of 1996 and is the only building with this distinction in Riverbank.
The Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history and culture of the Riverbank region, for the education and enrichment of a diverse audience of adults and children who visit. To accomplish this, the museum and its volunteers provide exhibitions, programs, publications and educational experiences for all.
The society strives to acquire, organize and maintain the facility for displaying the area’s heritage.
Members strive to keep the museum open with regular hours for the public to visit, and promoting programs for informing local schools and the community of regional history.
To do this, the group works to raise funds to build a cultural and historical experience on the property immediately adjacent to the current museum.