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Manteca museum offers class for history buffs, would-be docents
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A free class for history buffs, as well as for those interested in beefing up their knowledge of historical highpoints and figures in the area, is being offered by the Manteca Historical Society and Museum.

The six-week session will begin on Monday, May 3, from 5 to 6 p.m. The hour-long classes will be held in the museum on Mondays at the same time and place.

Formerly known as the docent class, the Manteca history class will be taught by area historians Ken Hafer, Ron Howe and Evelyn Prouty who is the director of the historical society and museum and the author of the book, “Manteca: Selected chapters from its history.”

Prouty will teach four of the classes, with historical society charter and board members Hafer and Howe each handling a class. Howe’s class will focus on the history of Spreckels Sugar, Prouty said.

There is no age restriction to attend the class. It’s open to anyone, Prouty said, from a high school student who wants to learn more about the history of Manteca to a resident at Woodbridge Del Webb who is new in the community, “and anybody in between.”

Class participants will learn about Manteca’s history, the history of South San Joaquin Irrigation District, early pioneers, and historical markers in the area, among other topics. For the last session, the class goes on a field trip to visit the area’s historical highlights. The itinerary makes stops at the monument on the corner of Union Road and Louise Avenue (Quik Stop convenience store) across the street from the pioneer East Union Cemetery, French Camp, Caswell Memorial State Park, the old Miller House, Goodwin House, Austin House, the brick Joseph Wilson House next to Foster Freeze, the Overshiner House, and other historical homes in town. Joseph Wilson was a former Manteca postmaster.

“It’s a good tour and it kind of shows them where the things are that they learned about in the class,” Prouty said.

The history class is a training ground for would-be museum docents. The hope is that one or more people who take the class will volunteer to serve as docents. And they’ve been lucky so far, Prouty said.

“We always get one or two docents out of it,” she said. They got three docents from the last class offered.

There are two classes offered every year – one in spring and the other in the fall.

To sign up for the class and reserve a space, call Prouty at 982-0339.