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Museum offers holiday gifts featuring Manteca twist
Evelyn Prouty looks over some of the one-of-a-kind items for sale at the Manteca Museum gift shop, 600 W. Yosemite Ave. - photo by HIME ROMERO
If you want to give a gift that says “Manteca” this Christmas but don’t want it to be a can of Armour Star lard with both English and Spanish spellings then the Manteca Museum gift shop might be the right place to search.

It 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.

“There is a lot of interest in bonnets for young girls and the jewelry we get donated that is back mostly from the 1950s and 1960s,” said Evelyn Prouty, executive director of the Manteca Historical Society that operates the museum at 600 W. Yosemite Ave.

Jewelry typically sells for 50 cents to a dollar.

“We get a lot of teens in here looking at the jewelry,” Prouty said. “One day two of them asked what a couple of clips they saw were for. They were sweater clips you used back in the 1950s for your cashmere sweater. When they found out what they were they bought all that we had to use on their clothing.”

You’re find an assortment of books on Manteca and area history at the gift shop including “Manteca” Selected Chapters from its History” penned by 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.

Woodworker Jim Button has 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.