Putting Down Roots-Ventura County’s Early Immigrant Farmers

February 01, 2012
New Exhibit at Agriculture Museum Opens February 11
Santa Paula News

For more than 200 years, agriculture has been an enduring magnet attracting newcomers.

In the new exhibit Putting Down Roots: Ventura County’s Immigrant Farmers, 1800-1910, visitors to the Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula can learn about the farmers and laborers who settled here after traveling from across the country and around the world. The exhibit opens February 11 and runs through May 20 in the Finch Family Gallery.

Historic photographs put faces to the laborers and farmers who came here long ago and often stayed, as have many of their descendants. Visitors are invited to consider what caused migrants to leave their original homes and what factors brought them specifically to this county. The great distances and varied places from which they traveled are illustrated on a large wall map, and replica maps show how rancho lands were divided into small family farms. Also on display are tools settlers used to clear land and grow crops, as well as home goods they used to care for their families.

Because of the wealth of material about agricultural immigration, the museum is planning a second exhibition to explore influx through the 20th and into the 21st centuries. Part I of Putting Down Roots is funded in part by a grant from the Heritage Fund at the Ventura County Community Foundation.

An exhibition of 1930s photographs by Horace Bristol opens March 3. A free reception for both exhibits will be held at the Agriculture Museum on Sunday, March 4, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., and will include screenings of the 1936 Dust Bowl documentary “The Plow That Broke the Plains.”

The Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum is located at 926 Railroad Avenue, Santa Paula, California, in their historic downtown, near the Depot and next to the railroad tracks. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, free for Museum of Ventura County members & children ages 5 and younger. First Sundays of each month are free admission for all ages. For more information, go to www.venturamuseum.org or call (805) 525-3100.

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