December 23, 2004

Come and visit the Museum of the Californias in Tijuana

By Luis Alonso Pérez

On this Christmas day, the Tijuana Culture Center (CECUT) invites families from both sides of the border to visit the Museum of the Califonias free of charge, because of their promotion “Ven y conoce tu Museo” (come and get to know your museum).

Visitors can learn about the common history and culture of California and Baja California, from the prehistoric era to the second half of the twentieth century, in a thirty minute guided visit available in English or Spanish. If you wish, you can visit without a guide because the museum has video projections and interactive stations that offer additional information about each stage.

The Museum of the Californias hosts a 500 piece exhibition divided in eight stages of the peninsular history. The first part is dedicated to this territory’s prehistoric age and it displays mammoth bones found south of Ensenada; cave painting replicas and real hunting tools from the first nomad tribes.

Scale models of the ships that arrived to our coasts with the first European expeditions, as well as armors, swords and crosses from the Spanish conquerors are displayed on the second part of the museum. Religious items from the Californian missionary period like letters, paintings and scale models of the Misiones can be seen in the third section.

The historic tour continues with the first foreign ranchers that settled in this territory and owned great portions of land, until it was divided into California and Baja California with the signing of the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty.

The Mexican history period known as “El Porfiriato”, because of the dictatorship of President Porfirio Diaz, brought great advances to this region because of the foreign investment in mining, commerce, cattle and agricultural companies, so the fifth section is dedicated to this period.

The museum gathered dozens of items brought to this land by the Chinese immigrants that where transported in ships so they could help build railways across the desert and settled in Mexicali. There are also objects from the Russian immigrants that fled from religious persecution during the revolution and settled in Valle de Guadalupe, introducing the wine production in this region.

The growth and development of Tijuana because of the alcohol prohibition in the United States led to the creation of elegant casinos designer for foreign visitors, and it’s remembered in the seventh part of the exhibition, with large photographs and objects like slot machines and furniture from the fancy hotels.

The last part of the museum is dedicated to the environment and it’s designed specially for kids. Interactive stations and video screenings inform and raise consciousness about the importance of our ecosystems and the environment in our region. There’s also a ship like the ones the Spanish explorers navigates so the little ones can play inside and watch replicas of their navigation instruments like maps and compasses.

The temporary exhibition hall will also open its doors for free so everyone can visit the northern Mexican archeology exhibit.

The “Ven y conoce tu Museo” promotion will only be available on December 25 and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. For more information about the museum or guided visits, please call the Tijuana Cultural Center 011 52 (664) 687 96 36 and 37.

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