This week we ask: who thought that would be a good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.

This American Life airs every Friday night at 7:00 pm and re-airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am 0n KRCB-FM Radio 91!

Healdsburg’s Long History with Tourism

Jun 17, 2017
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

As the impacts of high-end tourism stir increasing debate in Healdsburg, a new exhibit at the local museum traces the history of that industry in the north county area.

The large display that greets visitors to the “Destination Healdsburg" exhibit is a detailed recreation of a block of the storefronts that faced the downtown plaza roughly 80 years ago. Curator Holly Hoods says it’s the work of a uniquely skilled volunteer.

When Psychedelia Flowered in the North Bay

Dec 13, 2016
History Museum of Sonoma County

As the 50th anniversary of San Francisco's “Summer of Love” approaches, a new exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum examines that how era played out in the North Bay.

The North Bay was a low-key, out-of-town "incubator" for musicians from the San Francisco scene, observes Eric Stanley, curator for the History Museum of Sonoma  County.

Sonoma Museum Opens Surfboard Exhibit

Jun 30, 2016
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

  Surfboards---from rough-hewn slabs of wood to carefully shaped pieces of fiberglass, and from Hawaii to Africa—are all on display in Sonoma this summer.

  Every surfboard in the exhibit has a story behind it—including the one that curator Richard Henvin is holding in the photograph at the right.

Included in the Surf Craft show are rare boards designed by the early and influential board-maker Bob Simmons.

Tiffany Camhi, KRCB

  The past year has been a tough one for Marin County’s History Museum. Ongoing financial troubles and declining public trust led the historic institution to close its doors last year. But KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports the museum is looking to re-open this year...with an infusion of donated money and new leadership.

Children’s Museum to Open Indoor Exhibits

Jun 18, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is opening its indoor Science and Imagination Gallery this weekend, with 15 interactive exhibits designed to keep kids busy—and eager to return.

There is a lot to see and do in the new museum space, and while it can be hard to choose, founder Collette Michaud does have a few favorite attractions.

Marin Museum of Bicycling Set to Open

Jun 3, 2015
Marin Museum of Bicycling


   A new and specialized “cultural center” opens Saturday in Fairfax: The Marin Museum of Bicycling, which will also be the new home of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

This flyer has information about the new museum's June 6th Grand Opening. Find a full schedule of activities here.

Singing to Save Bodega Head--Then and Now

Nov 21, 2014

  Fifty years ago, when local citizens rose up to oppose plans for a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay, music was an important part of the protests. Cotati resident and Trad Jazz trumpeter and bandleader Lu Waters composed and recorded “Blues over Bodega” to call attention to the issue, but it was singer Barbara Dane who gave voice to the song. She’s making a special return appearance to Santa Rosa tonight, in connection with the current exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum, which is titled Hole in the Head: The Battle for Bodega Bay and the Birth of the Environmental Movement.

Pomo Culture, History Honored in Sebastopol

Sep 25, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Long before Sebastopol was a town, it was home to indigenous Pomo tribes for many generations. That history is explored and recognized in a series of Pomo–related events during October, the town’s fifth annual Pomo Honoring Month.

There will be a reception at the Sebastopol Historical museum on Saturday, September 27 from 1-4 pm to kick off this year’s Pomo Horning Month events. You can find a complete list of those activities  here.

Schulz's Early Cartooning on View

Sep 16, 2014
© 1948 Schulz Family Intellectual Trust.

  Peanuts made Santa Rosa cartoonist Charles Schulz popular world-wide, but that long-running strip was not where his career began. A new exhibit at the Charles M. Schulz museum looks back as his earliest work, and we hear more about that today from the woman who helped put it together.

Sonoma County Museum to Become Two Facilities

Aug 10, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  History and art have shared an awkward co-existence within the Sonoma County Museum in downtown Santa Rosa. Now each subject area will soon be getting a separate space in side-by-side facilities at the current site.

Snoopy license plates to aid CA museums

Jun 24, 2014

  Coming soon to a car near you , it could be Snoopy on a license plate. The planned new specialty plates will raise funds to benefit museums across California, once the first round of purchases make their creation official.  Here’s more about how it all works.

To sign up for one of the new Snoopy license plates, use this link.

"Evolution of the Comic Strip"

Mar 8, 2014
Tom Vano, 1969 / Schulz Museum

  From hand-drawn original art to full-page digital reproduction, the process of creating and delivering comic strips has gone through some dramatic technical changes in recent years.

From the Pen to the Comic Pages;  Evolution of the Comic Strip is currently displayed in the upstairs gallery at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Included are some rare metal plates used to print the strips from before the digital age. Below is an example, from February 25, 1976, along with the positive image it produced.

Local Civil War History Displayed at Healdsburg Museum

Mar 5, 2014

 You may be surprised to know that back in 1864, Sonoma County was the only county in California that did not support Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election. Santa Rosa was solidly behind the Confederacy, while Petaluma and Healdsburg were deeply divided. Some local history of that era is on display now at the Healdsburg Museum.

The exhibit, “Sonoma County and the Civil War,” currently on display at the Healdsburg Museum through May 4. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11-4, and admission is free.

Historic Figurehead Donated to Museum

Feb 28, 2014
Sonoma County Museum

The Sonoma County Museum offers exhibits of both fine art and local history, and in the latter category, they have just announced an unusual new addition to their permanent collection. Bruce Robinson gets us a bit of a preview.

Further details from the Museum's announcement of the acquisition:

Life in Mexican California

Feb 25, 2014

Between the missions and the ranchos, northern California was a male-dominated realm in the 1870s. But it is from the accounts of a handful of women there that we get an inside picture of what day-to-day life then was really like.

We have these detailed accounts of life in early northern California thanks to the vision of a single man, says Santa Clara University History professor Robert Senkewicz. Fortunately, his vision was unusually inclusive for its time.

Long Awaited Children's Museum Poised to Open in 2014

Jan 5, 2014
courtesy Children's Museum of Sonoma County.

It's time to come and play. The Children's Museum of Sonoma County has been a museum-on-the-go since 2005, but this year the museum will open the doors to a permanent home, near the Charles Schulz Museum, West of Coddingtown Mall.  

Collette Michaud, museum CEO, hopes the museum will become an integral part of the lives of many local children, especially those whose families struggle with affording preschool and daycare. 

Children’s Museum to Break Ground

Jun 3, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

First it was a dream. Then it was a campaign. Now the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is becoming tangible, with the ground-breaking for an elaborate garden and outdoor learning center held over the weekend.