More in Community:
By Mike Hazlip—
As nonprofit organizations throughout the Sacramento region sought to meet their funding goals during the Big Day of Giving last week, one Citrus Heights organization is seeking volunteers over money.
Citrus Heights Historical Society President Larry Fritz and member Jerry Still spoke with The Sentinel at the historic Rusch Home Tuesday about the current and future plans for the organization.
“We want to preserve and promote the history of Citrus Heights,” Fritz said. “A lot of it is gone or on its way out and we want to try to capture it as much as we can and preserve it and have it for other people to appreciate and learn from as well.”
With a grant from the City of Citrus Heights, and a recently donated motor home up for sale, Fritz says the organization’s biggest challenges are currently a lack of volunteers and a location. The organization saw a lull in membership after the passing of Jim Van Maren a decade ago, he said.
In recent years, the society has made appearances at the Rusch Home for historic tours as well as working to set up a display about local history at a vacant storefront in Sunrise Mall. In 2018, the society’s volunteers were also given an opportunity to sort through old memorabilia left inside an old home at the corner of Mariposa Avenue and Old Auburn Road after it sold, uncovering some historical finds.
The society also has an exhibit at San Juan High School where the group has worked with the alumni association. The exhibit is open to the public Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors must sign in at the school’s front office.
“In essence, it’s fulfilling our mission to preserve and promote local history, but it’s focused more on San Juan High School,” he said of the exhibit.
Future ideas for the historical society include Still’s vision to see a chain of educational museums following some of the same paths traveled by gold miners during the early days of the area.
“Our dream is to have a whole bunch of museums so we could have a trail of museums all the way from Folsom all the way to Sacramento,” Still said. “And San Juan alumni legacy can be part of that trail.”
Fritz said an ideal location would be one with significant foot traffic.
“I know from experience of other museums like Fair Oaks, people don’t go to the museum just to see the museum,” he said. “They’re there for something else and since the museum is right there, they’ll stop in.”
The organization is currently using grant funds to modify their website, www.citrusheightsstories.com, into a “digital museum” that will preserve historical documents online, Fritz said. The organization is currently asking residents to submit stories from the area’s history.
It is hoped that the new website will help attract younger members to the organization.
“That’s the key, to get the youth involved,” said Still. “You can’t last forever and you gotta have somebody to take over.”
In an April 30 post on Facebook, the organization announced it is offering free membership for the year to anyone joining. The society says those interested in becoming members can fill out a sign-up form online and ignore the section about payment, unless wishing to make a donation.
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