For all the historical icons in the San Lorenzo Valley (hello, Roaring Camp, Henry Cowell and Covered Bridge Park), there are some that seemingly fly under the radar.
San Lorenzo Valley Museum is one of them, says Director of Operations Nicole Berridge.
“The museum is one of those places that people drive by and think, ‘I wish I had time to stop and visit,’” she said.
Well, now’s a great time to plan a virtual visit to this iconic spot: the Museum is hosting its annual spring auction. Because of the pandemic, the entire event is happening online.
Berridge said she is excited about this year’s event, and is impressed by how Executive Director Lisa Robinson has been able to bend and flex in the face of challenges presented in 2020.
“We weren’t able to hold our event last year due to Covid, and this year, we’ve been inviting local artists to join us again,” she said. “We traditionally net around $5,000, and those funds go towards operational expenses, including programs and events that welcome schools and the community.”
With the traditional dinner at Scopazzi’s scrapped, Robinson and Berridge needed to get creative. They didn’t feel comfortable asking the community for financial assistance with so many residents struggling through the pandemic and the CZU Lightning Complex fires. Berridge’s own family has been out of its Boulder Creek home since August, and are just now returning after eight months of hotel stays, couch surfing and less-than-ideal housing situations.
“We’re auctioning just 20 items online, but if it goes well, we’re hoping to have a summertime auction as well. We’re hoping to raise a little over $2,700, which is about half of what we’d normally bring in,” Berridge said. “We’re trying to be respectful of our community; we have some great, hand-crafted items, and some things that were donated by lifetime members and people in our community.
“It’s been a tough year for the museum. Our operating budget is about $50,000 per year, and that’s all generated from membership, donations and fundraisers. Even in the face of slimmed-down offerings, we’re still holding online events and trying to remain active and engaged with our members and the community. The goal of the museum is to preserve and share the history of the Valley for free. When we do the school programs, we don’t charge for field trips. We’re hoping this fundraiser will be successful, and we’ll go from there.”
Berridge and the rest of the SLV Museum team were able to breathe a sigh of relief after the fires ripped through the mountains—not one artifact was damaged by smoke or fire. When the debris flow danger arose, and mandatory evacuations were put in place, Berridge and Robinson scooped up some of the items, and tucked them away in the sister space of the Faye G. Belardi Memorial Gallery in Felton, now a second station for the museum.
“We were so fortunate to not have any of our items damaged or destroyed by either the fire or debris flows,” she said. “It would have been a real loss to the community and the history of our Valley.”
Care to contribute to this valuable historical place? The online auction runs through Sunday April 18, and is available at 32auctions.com/SLVMuseumSpring2021. Interested in becoming a member or making a donation? Visit, slvmuseum.com/members.html.