Step Inside of History At The Tulare Historical Museum

Mar 17, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Evelyne Vivies, Hometown History

by Evelyne Vivies

Whether you’re a history buff or you just enjoy exploring pieces of our past, visiting a local museum is an educational and interesting experience. One such museum, the Tulare Historical Museum, is the perfect place to learn more about Tulare, a small town located in the heart of the Central Valley, which holds a special place in our valley’s history.

Visitors from all across the valley as well as tourists from other countries, on their way to see the wonders of our giant sequoias, come discover the local historical treasures at the Tulare Historical Museum. Chris Harrel, the museum’s Executive Director and Curator, says, “Our whole mission is to help preserve the rich heritage of Tulare’s history.”


Military exhibit at museum

The museum’s permanent exhibits tell the story of the residents of the city of Tulare, starting at the very beginning. Chris invites us to learn and explore the Yokuts Indian Nation Exhibit, taking us back in time to the city’s earliest moments. “The Yokuts were the very first residents of this whole area,” explains Chris.

The museum prominently features the railroad, which had a fundamental role in Tulare’s history. “The railroad, itself, Southern Pacific, is what actually made the town of Tulare,” explains Chris.

It also pays tribute to the pioneer families, who founded the town. “We have different scenes of businesses and homes that give people, especially students, a chance to put things in perspective as far as what life would have been like if they had lived during that time.” Indeed, part of the curriculum of all third graders in Tulare is an excursion to the Tulare Historical Museum.

The museum also extends its scope to the Valley itself with its military history wing, offering a wonderfully comprehensive look at the men and women who served in our military throughout the ages. The military exhibit, one of the museum’s two “pride and joys”, houses famous Tulareans such as Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who attended Tulare Union High School before becoming one of our nation’s highly decorated naval admiral. It also contains Emmanuel Toledo’s impressive military collection. history

The second pride and joy of the museum, according to Chris, are the Olympic exhibits of Bob Mathias and Sim Ines, “Our two hometown Olympic heroes. People come from all over just to see these two collections.”


Bob Mathias exhibit

Here, you will also find fun temporary exhibits. A special new exhibition was created by this dynamic museum, and it’s called “Big Band Bash.” As Chris explains, “It’s a historical chronicle of middle school and high school bands over the years.” Special recognition will be given to the 1957 Tulare High School Redskin Band, who had the honor of performing at Dwight Eisenhower’s Presidential Inaugural Parade. The exhibit will run from March 17 to April 7, with a kick-off ceremony on opening day, Saturday, March 17 at 2 p.m. featuring musical performances and open to the public free of charge.

When you come enjoy the festivities, don’t miss the gorgeous art gallery of the museum where rotating shows from the immensely talented local art students are feature. Showcasing history, highlighting the characters and events that have had a wondrous impact on the growth of our nation, there is much to see and enjoy at this delightful and provocative museum. A place where people of all ages and origins will enjoy a new appreciation for local culture.


Student artists exhibit gallery

The Tulare Historical Museum
444 W. Tulare Avenue
Tulare, CA 93274
Tel: (559) 686-2074

Learn more about the museum at

Evelyne Vivies is a native to the French island of Guadeloupe living the American dream in Visalia, CA.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.