• WHAT: Manteca Museum
• LOCATION: 600 W. Yosemite Ave.
• FROM HIGHWAY 99: Take the Yosemite Avenue exit and head west through downtown and cross the railroad tracks. The museum is two blocks on the left after crossing the tracks.
• HOURS: Tuesday and Wednesday 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
• TOUR INFORMATION: 825-3021
• COLLECTION DONATION: If you have items you believe the museum may want to include in its collection, contact Ron Howe at 823-5641
It’s not that tough to give a gift this Christmas that says “Manteca.”
You could drop by the grocery store and buy a can of Armour Star lard with both English and Spanish spellings or you could drop by the Manteca Museum gift shop.
The museum gift shop at 600 West Yosemite Avenue offers everything from one-of-a-kind jewelry from years gone by and handmade items by Manteca craftsmen to books on local history. You can even wrap yourself in Manteca. For $53 - including tax - you can purchase a blanket-style throw embroidered with scenes of the Southern Pacific Railroad depot, the Spreckels Sugar plant, the old Manteca High bell tower, and other historic scenes.
You’ll also find a lot of unusual items you won’t find anywhere else as well ranging from custom-made birdhouses and clocks to costume jewelry from bygone eras.
“I try to find unique things,” noted gift shop manager Vivian Sarina.
There is a lot of interest in bonnets for young girls and the jewelry they get donated that is back mostly from the 1950s and 1960s.”
Jewelry typically sells for 50 cents to a dollar. And you will occasisoanlly fiund gems such as sweater clips from the 1950s that were used for cashmere sweaters.
The museum also has what is probably the largest collection of old buttonss you’ll find in Manteca.
You’ll find an assortment of books on Manteca and area history at the gift shop including “Manteca” Selected Chapters from its History” penned by Evelyn Prouty from stories she researched while working for the Manteca Bulletin. It sells for $20 including tax.
There is a Manteca history book by school teacher Alice Coons that sells for $5. There are history books on the Tone family (for whom Jack Tone Road is named after), the Stockton Fire Department, county fairs for the past century, San Joaquin County schools, are railroads native Americans from the region, and more.
You’ll find post cards featuring drawings of various Manteca landmarks by artist Tom Olson that are available six for $3. You can also pay a bit more and buy them framed.
Among the usual “historic items” are four pound cartoons of the last sugar packaged at Spreckels’ Manteca plant for $3 and ties with the City of Manteca seal for $7.
There is still woodwork by the late Jim Button available. He turned barn wood gleaned from Manteca farms into various craft items ranging from bird houses and clocks to highly functional coffee grinders. The coffee grinders sell for $18.
There are also T-shirts that depict the museum as ones that offer a rendering of the old Manteca High School bell tower.
The museum and gift shop are open Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. as well as Thursday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
By DENNIS WYATT
209 staff reporter