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Mendocino Visitor Magazine

Art, Artifacts Housed in Museums

Museums are always a fascinating way to learn about an areaís history and culture. Fortunately for travelers, there are excellent museums in Mendocino County. In the town of Mendocino are the Kelley House Museum and the Ford House. Both museums are in historical buildings, each of which has its own fascinating story.

The Kelley House Museum is at 45007 Albion Street and was built by William H. Kelley in 1861. The museum consists of five main rooms, each with exhibits and furnished as they might have been when the Kelley family lived there. For information call (707) 937-5791.

One block away from the Kelley House is the Ford House. Located on Main Street, the Ford House was built in 1854 by E.C. Williams for Jerome Bursley Ford. Ford House is now the visitor center for Mendocino Headlands State Park The Ford House has natural history displays, logging exhibits, Pomo Indian artifacts and works by local artists. Admission is free. Call (707) 937-5397 for information.

North of Mendocino in Fort Bragg is the Guest House Museum, located at 343 North Main Street. The stately three-story building was built entirely of redwood in 1892, and is filled with pictures and artifacts depicting coastal history. The grounds contain pleasant gardens as well as historical logging equipment. For information call (707) 961-2840.

Southward on the coast travelers will be intrigued by the Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum, located west of the town of Point Arena. The two biuldnigs comprise the museum with the Fog Signal Building holding historical photographs and other displays. Visitors can climb to the top of the 115-foot lighthouse where they can admire the view and look for migrating gray whales. Call (707) 882-2777 for information, or visit the website:

Inland Mendocino County also contains several museums, three in the town of Ukiah one at Lake Mendocino and one in Willits. The Grace Hudson Museum and the Sun House occupy the same grounds at 431 south Main Street in Ukiah. The museum is a celebration of native peoples and houses the artwork of Grace Hudson, who painted primarily portraits of local Pomo people. It also holds some of the extensive collection of Indian basketry amassed by Grace Hudsonís husband, Johr.

The Sun House is a Craftsman-style bungalow built by the Hudsons in 1911. The home is furnished with many items which they collected throughout the years and is California Historical Landmark No. 926 in the National Register of Historic Places. For more information call (707) 467-2&36 or visit

The Held-Poage Memorial Home and Research Library is a treasure trove of historical information. The library holds 4,500 books on county, state and national history, 13,500 historical photographic negatives and microfilms pertaining to Northern Califorrua history, as well as documents, maps, scrapbooks, genealogies and more.

All of this information is housed in the historical Queen Anne-style Victorian home that was built in 1903 and is located at the comer of Dora and Perkins streets in Ukiah. For information about tours and historic research contact the library at (707) 462-6969.,p. Visitors who wish to learn more about the native peoples of Mendocino County can stop by the Pomo Visitor Center at the north end of Lake Mendocino just northeast of Ukiah.

The round shape of the center is modeled on the Pomo ceremonial dance house. The center contains exhibits, films, demonstrations and special programs designed to inform visitors of the Pomo culture and the natural history of the Lake Mendocino area. For more information call (707) 485-8685.

In Willits, the Mendocino County Museum is located at 400 East Commercial Street. The large, modern building houses permanent and temporary exhibits that highlight local Native Americans. The museum also features equipment from the early logging days, photographs of the coastal shipping industry and a collection of stage coaches, wagons and buggies. For more information call (707) 459- 2736. You can also find information online at .

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