Closed since March due to COVID-19 pandemic
PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Historical Museum reopened Friday, Nov. 6, in the Downtown City Park for the first time since mid-March.
The Museum is inside the Historic Carnegie Library in the City Park and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Monday. It is run by the nonprofit El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society. The research room is available Thursdays or by appointment.
The Museum closed due to COVID-19 orders by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Due to the County moving into the Red Tier, indoor museums could reopen at 25 percent capacity. People are required to wear face coverings and to social distance when inside.
The Society ensures that unique exhibits celebrating the achievements of individuals, and the events that have shaped not only Paso Robles but also California’s past are on display in the Museum.
Currently, there is an exhibit detailing some of the area’s “Exceptional women.”
The exhibits change periodically. Free programs are offered throughout the year featuring topics of local interest. Docents greet visitors upon entry and have a wealth of information.
According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Carnegie Library’s history dates from a 1901 free reading room and library formed by Paso Robles Improvement Club, a men’s group. The following year the Club asked its ladies’ auxiliary to take it over for them. Later the women, in turn, asked the City to assume responsibility for the library, which it did on Nov. 2, 1903, with an ordinance establishing a free public library.
The ladies next urged the trustees to seek Carnegie funds and $10,000 was offered on Dec. 13, 1906. The grant was contingent upon the City providing a suitable site and $1,000 per year to maintain the library.
Upon receipt of the grant, the Paso Robles Library Board entered into an agreement with William H. Weeks to design the library building. Plans were finalized and construction by R.O. Summers began in late 1907. The cornerstone was laid and the Library was dedicated on June 19, 1908.
In February of 1995, through overwhelming community support, much like that which supported the Carnegie’s construction, the new Paso Robles City Library was dedicated. The 28,686 square foot structure, with the City Hall offices on the second floor, was completed, and the books were moved from the Carnegie across the street to their new home.
In 1997, City turned over the stewardship of the Carnegie Library to the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society.
There are a few changes underway in the Museum. The corner gift shop is being replaced by an extensive display dedicated to the history of winemaking in Paso Robles.
For more information, visit online www.pasorobleshistorymuseum.org.