Past Exhibits

Picture of early Chinese setters

Touching Ground, Putting Down Roots: Chinese in Berkeley, April 30–September 30, 2023. Curated by Aimee Baldwin, Jeanine Castello-Lin, George Petty, Michael Several, Tonya Staros and Charles Wollenberg. The exhibit, now in an online version, tells stories of 150 years of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans in Berkeley.

Eco-Berkeley: A Legacy of Environmental Activism, October 22, 2022 – April 15, 2023. Curated by a team co-chaired by Ann Harlow and Charles Wollenberg. The exhibit included a timeline of environmental “firsts” in Berkeley, including the founding of many notable organizations as well as voter and City Council initiatives; a section on David Brower, one on the Save the Bay movement, and a look at current strategies to combat climate change.

1970s Car with Plants - Vegie Car

Picture: Top: Glenn Burke, Edythe Boone, Tramaine Hawkins & Richard Pryor
Bottom: Relief by Sargent Johnson, Clark Kerr Campus, UC Berkeley.

African Americans in Berkeley: Art, Entertainment, Literature, Sports, 1940–2010, April 24–October 8, 2022. Curated by Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson and Harvey Smith with assistance from Mary Jackson, Tina Jones Williams, David Knott, and Byron Rumford III. Highlights of this third and last in the series were significant contributions made by Berkeley African Americans as visual and performing artists, writers, and athletes.

From Street to Ballot Box: Berkeley Politics in the 1970s, Selections from the David Mundstock Collection, Nov. 6, 2021–April 9, 2022; online exhibit ongoing. Curated by Bill Roberts, John Aronovici, Jeanine Castillo-Lin, Lincoln Cushing, Elizabeth “Tama” Spencer, Tonya Staros and Charles “Chuck” Wollenberg. The exhibit showcased the recent acquisition from the estate of David Mundstock of his collection of posters and other documentation of politics in Berkeley from 1971 to the early 1980s. Even when not successful in maintaining City Council majorities, leftists led successful initiative campaigns on rent control, neighborhood preservation, citizen police control, and decriminalization of marijuana.

Picture of David Mundstock registering voters and doing a press interview
Old picture with the title, African Americans in Berkeley's History and Legacy

African Americans in Berkeley’s History and Legacy, May 16–October 23, 2021; online exhibit ongoing. Curated by Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson and Harvey Smith with assistance from Mary Jackson, Luceiris Collymore Abbas, Celise Knott, Raquel Matthews, Mimia Qusilas, Madison Draper, and Nkeiruka Oruche. The second in a series of three, this exhibit focused on businesses, politics, schools, social organizations, and religious institutions, honoring and uplifting the experiences, contributions, and legacies of Berkeley’s Black community from 1940 to 2000.

Berkeley’s Fascination with Food (online exhibit Nov. 15, 2020–ongoing; partial physical exhibit March-April 2021). Curated by Ann Harlow with John Aronovici, Jeanine Castello-Lin, L. John Harris, Bill Roberts, Pamela Rouse, Chuck Wollenberg. The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to pivot to an internet-based exhibit format, with weekly “Berkeley Food History Bytes” distributed to entice repeat visits. John Aronovici created a lobby display and he and Ann Harlow installed selected parts of the online exhibit, supplemented by posters, artifacts and books, in the History Center.

Colored illustration of “Berkeley Cuisine,” by Madeline Rohner (painted for the Berkeley Historical Society, 2020).
Picture of African American couple

African Americans in Berkeley: Four Families, October 27, 2019 –April 4, 2020 (extended into period of closure for COVID-19 pandemic). Curated by Dr. Stephanie Anne Johnson and Harvey Smith, the exhibit focused on four families with deep roots and connections to Berkeley history. It included a rich photographic record and personal memorabilia from each extended family: the Reids, the Howards, the Rumfords, and the Griffins. The materials were brought together by Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor (of the Reid family), Mildred Howard, Byron Rumford III, and Margot Dashiell (of the Griffin family). In addition, there was a chronological outline of the role of African Americans in Berkeley from the 1850s through the explosion in population during World War II, the civil rights era, and up to the recent decline in the size of the Black population in Berkeley.

People’s Park: Fifty Years, April 7–September 28, 2019. This exhibit, curated by Steven Finacom and Phyllis Gale, commemorated the climax of Berkeley’s “Sixties” era in the creation of People’s Park in May 1969 and the tumultuous events that followed. The exhibit documented the housing that was there before the land was cleared, included photographs not previously seen by the public, and provided a space for visitors’ comments on the past, present and future of the park.

Picture of the People's Park
War time poster

Building Bridges, Not Walls: Berkeley, America’s First Sanctuary City, November 11, 2018–March 23, 2019. Curated by Harvey Smith and Phyllis Gale. Berkeley became the first sanctuary city in the United States at the end of the City Council meeting of November 7, 1971, when Resolution #44,784 was signed, providing sanctuary for Naval seamen of the USS Coral Sea who were opposed to the Vietnam War. The exhibit also explored nine more City resolutions passed since that time in areas such as sanctuary for Central American refugees (1985), acceptance of Arab immigrants (1991), a Hate Free Zone (2001), opposition to the Patriot Act (2002), reaffirming Berkeley as a City of Refuge (2007), and finally February 2018, when Berkeley became a sanctuary city for cannabis. A major portion of the exhibit was selections from “Building Bridges, Not Walls: Immigrants, Diversity and Internationalism,” curated by Harvey Smith, originally for the San Francisco Public Library and the Canessa Gallery. The exhibit included works by local poets, artists and photographers that explored both the history and the contemporary relevance of the themes of immigrants, diversity and internationalism.

Collection Gems: Forty Years of Documenting Berkeley History, May 20–October 28 (extended), 2018. Curated by Bill Roberts (committee chair), John Aronovici, Jeanine Castello-Lin, Fred Etzel, Margot Lind, and Linda Rosen. This exhibit included a wide variety of materials – historical “gems” – collected over the past four decades, concentrating on several topical areas: schools, businesses, politics and government, performing arts, and family life, as well as some highlights from the Berkeley Historical Society’s own history.

Picture of an old factory
Picture of Allen Stross, Berkeley's Master of Photography

Allen Stross, Berkeley’s Master of Photography, April 11–May 5, 2018. Curated by John Aronovici, Tom Edwards and Ed Herny, This exhibit memorialized Allen Stross, who died in 2017 at 93. Berkeley residents will remember Allen as the ever-present photographer around town photographing people, senior activities, events and structures, having the photos developed and printed within hours, and distributing prints to his subjects free of charge. Allen and his wife Hyshka moved to Berkeley in 1979. He had earned the prestigious award of Master of Photography from the Professional Photographers of America. The exhibit included his art from early high school through his years in Southern California and Detroit studios, the Detroit Free Press, Wayne State photojournalism courses, and in and around Berkeley, where he became known as the Photo Philanthropist of Berkeley.

Soundtrack to the 60s: The Berkeley Music Scene, October 8, 2017– March 31, 2018. Curated by Shelley Rideout, Ed Herny, Country Joe McDonald, Alec Palao, and Phyllis Gale. While Berkeley did not have the large ballrooms of San Francisco, it had a variety of small clubs and medium-sized venues that saw many legendary performances during the decade of the 1960s. This exhibit focused on these venues and the unique contribution of Berkeley musicians to 1960s music. The exhibit drew upon the extensive archives of Country Joe McDonald, as well as little-known photographs from the Historical Society and several private collections. From small folk singer gatherings in private homes to public stages, Berkeley provided a rich milieu of opportunity for cross-genre inspiration and creativity. Country Joe and the Fish, the Joy of Cooking, and Creedence Clearwater Revival all had their start in Berkeley. A timeline of major national and international events provided context for local musical developments. Other parts of the exhibit focused on local recording studios, the Berkeley Folk Festival, the rock scene, rhythm and blues, the role of music in the protest movement, and the career of Country Joe McDonald. Clothing and other artifacts of the period were also on display.

Poster promoting an exhibit on the Berkeley scene
Picture of August Vollmer: The Father of American Policing

August Vollmer: The Father of American Policing, April 23–September 30, 2017. Curated by Willard Oliver, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and author of August Vollmer, The Father of American Policing. August Vollmer, one of the most extraordinary men ever to serve as police chief in America, is rightfully considered “The Father of American Policing.” His innovative use of science and technology applied to policing made him instrumental in the creation of the first lie detector and police crime lab, and his advocacy for police higher education, which led to the creation of degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology, were the underpinnings of his life’s work to professionalize the police. He served as Berkeley’s Town Marshal and then Police Chief from 1905 to 1932 except for a brief period as LAPD chief in 1923-24. He went on to found the School of Criminology at UC Berkeley and served on the first board of the East Bay Regional Parks District.

Berkeley’s Home Front During World Wars I and II, November 11, 2016–April 8, 2017. Curated by Phyllis Gale and Steven Finacom. The exhibit coincided with 75 years since the U.S. entered World War II in December 1941 and 100 years since entering World War I, the “Great War,” in April 1917. While Berkeley was far from the active combat zones of both conflicts, the community was profoundly impacted and changed. The exhibit focused on a series of small “vignettes” describing episodes, experiences, and features of the “home front.”

Picture of an anchor and other World War time memorabilia
Picture of men holding fire hoses on fire

Firestorm: 25 Years After the 1991 Berkeley/Oakland Hills Fire, October 2–November 5, 2016. Curated by Phyllis Gale and Steven Finacom. In 1991 the then-worst urban fire in American history swept out of the hills behind Berkeley, destroying in one afternoon more than 3,000 homes and killing dozens. The Firestorm only grazed Berkeley—burning several blocks of homes in the southeast corner of the city—but still had a strong impact on our community. The exhibit featured an evocative array of black and white photographs by Harold Adler of the burned area soon after the Firestorm. The exhibit also included some materials on other fires, including the 1923 Berkeley Fire that destroyed more than 600 homes, and the “forgotten fire” of 1937, which burned much of the brush and grass-covered hills of North Oakland that would burn again in 1991.

Berkeley! How We Got Our Name, April 17–September 24, 2016. Curated by Steven Finacom and Phyllis Gale. In 1866, the private College of California, predecessor to the University of the California, was getting ready to subdivide and sell some of the land it owned north of Oakland and south of the University site to pay for building. They knew a name was needed if they were to sell home sites. This exhibit commemorated the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the official selection of the name “Berkeley” on May 24, 1866. Using documents, manuscripts, diaries, maps, images and other sources, it followed a committee of Trustees as they gathered on “Founders Rock,” an outcropping now found at Hearst and Gayley Road, to name the hamlet. It told the story of George Berkeley, how his name came to be attached to our campus and town, and who was involved in the naming.

Picture of Bishop George Berkeley
Picture of historic building

“Art Capital of the West”: Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley, October 11, 2015-April 2, 2016. Curated by Ann Harlow with research and design assistance from Eleanor Freed. When artist Jennie V. Cannon visited Berkeley in 1907, she wrote, “I could not believe my eyes— there were artist groups and displays everywhere—so many fine artists that this place surpasses San Francisco as the art capital of the West.” Coinciding with the opening of the new UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, this exhibit explored over a century of hopes, dreams, successes and setbacks of Berkeley art museums and galleries.

Berkeley Goes to the Fair, April 19-October 3, 2015. Curated by Steven Finacom. The exhibit traced the local connections to both the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 and the Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) of 1939/40, highlighting how Berkeley and other East Bay people played key roles in creating, staging, and operating the “San Francisco” fairs. The exhibit was held during the Centennial year of the PPIE, and the 75th anniversary of the opening of the GGIE.

Exposition poster
Picture of a 1964 free speech rally

Looking Back: The Free Speech Movement at Fifty, September 28, 2014-April 11, 2015. Curated by Linda Rosen and the FSM Exhibit Committee: Jeanine Castello-Lin, Tonya Staros, Hal Reynolds, Ed Herny, Barbara Stack, Karen Sandys. The exhibit, part of the Free Speech Movement’s 50th Anniversary, featured photographs, oral history excerpts, and artifacts from the 1964 events and also traced the Civil Rights Movement predating FSM and the struggles that followed. The effect on Berkeley and UC, the role of the FBI, COINTELPRO and NSA, and where we are today were included. (Photo copyright Ron Enfield)

Researching Your Berkeley DNA: Telling Your Family Story, April 13–September 13, 2014. Curated by Phyllis Gale. This exhibit featured family collections, photographic archives, city directories, other historical directories, historic maps and other holdings that can be used in family, home, neighborhood, and organizational research.

Old fashioned picture of mother and her children
Picture of historic building being moved

The Heart of Berkeley: The Historic McGee-Spaulding District, October 13, 2013-March 29, 2014. Curated by the McGee-Spaulding Hardy Historic Interest Group: Lynne Davis, Pat Edwards, Hal Reynolds, and Anna Marie Taylor. In the heart of Berkeley lies the Historic McGee-Spaulding-Hardy District (bounded by Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Dwight Way, Sacramento Street and University Avenue). The area is rich in historic architecture. In the last quarter of the 19th century, thanks to a gift of land from Irish immigrant farmer James McGee, the first Catholic church, convent and schools were built in the district, making it the hub of Catholic life in Berkeley. Beginning in the 1950s, seeds took root that fostered the area’s radical communes and political activism of the sixties and seventies. Even today the district remains one of the most solidly left-wing areas of Berkeley. An online version of the exhibit is available at

Berkeley: From Farm to Urban Farming, 1850-2013, April 14–September 28, 2013. Curated by Phyllis Gale, Jeanine Castello-Lin, and Tonya Staros. This exhibit highlighted the farms, dairies, nurseries, and orchards that dotted the land in the early days, and chronicled the continued importance of agriculture in Berkeley’s life today through the community farm and urban farm movements. It brought together photographs, maps, objects, and first-hand accounts to tell the story of how Berkeley developed from rural territory in the 19th century into a residential, educational, and manufacturing community in the 20th century, to the thriving urban farm and community garden movement today.

Picture of horses being used to farm
Picture of Hink's Department Store

Vanished: Berkeley’s Lost Businesses and Institutions, October 2012–March 30, 2013. Curated by Phil and Phyllis Gale. The exhibit, centering on Hink’s Department Store photos and ephemera, also included the original Haws drinking fountains invented in Berkeley, the hot-fudge warmer from Ozzie’s Soda Fountain, the beanie worn by the Berkeley Junior Traffic Patrol, and many other treasures. The curators selected businesses and institutions to highlight the changes that have brought Berkeley from early farms and dairies to a center for academic and scientific achievement, freedom of expression and the arts.

Early Days of Dance in the East Bay, April 29-September 29, 2012. Curated by Jeanine Castello-Lin and Tonya Staros. From UC Berkeley’s all-female Parthenia pageant, to Isadora Duncan dance at the Temple of the Wings, Berkeley set the stage for Greek-inspired dance in the 1910s and ’20s. In the thirties, modern dance burst on the scene, with visits from German expressionists Mary Wigman. Hanya Holm and Harald Kreuzberg. Not long after, New York artists Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and José Limón brought their American modern dance idiom—spare and even dissonant—to the Bay Area. In the 1950s and ’60s, Oakland offered African American-inspired rhythms in the studios of dancers Ruth Beckford and Geraldyne Washington. The Shawl-Anderson dance studio has continued the modern dance tradition since 1958.

Sepia tone picture of dancers
Women Vote Poster

Berkeley Women Vote: Celebrating California Suffrage 1911–2011, September 18, 2011–March 30, 2012 (extended to April 18). Curated by Phyllis Gale. Women in California were allowed to vote in national elections beginning in 1911. Several Berkeley women were active suffragists helping to make that happen. This exhibit celebrated the centennial of that change (nine years before the 19th Amendment was ratified).

Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley: A Noble Venture, May 15– September 10, 2011. Curated by Therese Pipe and Linda Rosen with Exhibit Committee members Bob Schildgen, Valerie Yasukochi, Vangie Buell, and Stephen Rosen. The exhibit explored the positive spirit that built the most successful co-op supermarket in the nation. The Berkeley Co-op pioneered consumer education and protection, ingredient labeling and unit pricing, and influenced Berkeley politics.

Picture of the Berkeley Co-op
Old football photo

Golden Bear Pioneers: UC Sports & Athletic Traditions, September 19, 2010-March 26, 2011. Curators: Keith Tower and Bart White. The two guest curators drew on their own extensive collections of UC Berkeley artifacts and memorabilia to create an exhibit highlighting images, traditions, and events associated with athletics and school spirit at the Berkeley campus.

The WPA 75th Anniversary in Berkeley, April 11-September 18, 2010. Curator: Harvey Smith of California’s Living New Deal Project and the National New Deal Preservation Association. An exhibit of historic photographs and objects related to the many structures and art works of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The exhibit explored the context of the New Deal’s broad social policies that included education, recreation, arts, and public jobs programs. Berkeley was home to famous New Deal photographer Dorothea Lange, among others, and benefited from many innovative projects.

Old picture of Berkeley High School
Picture of man in a tie dye tee shirt

How Berkeley Can You Be? February 24–April 23, 2010. Curator: Allen Stross. Featuring photographs by Allen Stross and other photographers, the exhibit highlighted the world’s zaniest parade, which lasted from 1996 to 2008. The How Berkeley Can You Be parade, organized by the University Avenue Association and John Solomon, who was inspired by Pasadena’s Doo Dah parade, brought out Berkeley’s creative best. The parade lovingly satirized well-known Berkeley clichés. The largest West Coast Art Car Fest began there in 1999.

Berkeley in Conflict: Eyewitness Images. October 18, 2009-February 2010. John Jekabson, Dan Beaver, and Lydia Gans exhibited their photographs documenting activism and police confrontations in Berkeley in the sixties and seventies.

Photo of people in gas masks on motorcycle being approached by armed police
Poster of hand cuffed African American person holding an African American baby

Up Against the Wall: Berkeley Posters from the 1960s. April 19– September 26, 2009. Curated by archivist and poster scholar Lincoln Cushing, this exhibit was drawn from a unique private Berkeley collection of over 25,000 political posters assembled by Free Speech Movement activist Michael Rossman. It documented Berkeley’s unique role in the evolution of this medium and included examples of works on such diverse issues as gay liberation, people’s health care, opposition to the Vietnam War, support for political prisoners, demand for alternative educational models, and community control of police. The show covered the “long 1960s” (1964-1974) and explored the complex interaction between local activists, artists, publishers, and distributors that made this cultural explosion possible.

Charles and Louise Keeler: A Collaboration of Literature and Art, Inspired by Love. November 2, 2008-March 30, 2009. Curator: Ed Herny. This exhibit showcased materials related to author Charles Keeler and his wife Louise Bunnell Keeler, who illustrated many of his books. It included photos of the Keelers as well as books authored by Charles and artwork created by Louise.

Picture of Charles Keeler and his wife Louise Bunnell Keeler
Old picture of police offices and their bicycles

Berkeley: A City of Firsts. April 27-September 27, 2008. Curator: Linda Rosen. The exhibit focused on innovations by the City of Berkeley, the Berkeley School District, the police and fire departments, the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, the Center for Independent Living, UC Berkeley, and other organizations. Some “firsts” attributed to Berkeley were shown to be actually the first west of the Mississippi.

Berkeley in the 1930s. Opened October 14, 2007. Curator: Phil Gale. This exhibit explored how Berkeley fared during the Great Depression, focusing on transportation, business and industry. (In the photo there is still a gas station across from City Hall in what would become a park in the 1940s.)

1930s picture of city hall
Picture of house representing by-gone architecture

Vanishing Victorians. April 22–September 2007. Curator: Ken Cardwell. An exploration of the architecture of Berkeley’s early years.

Oral History Exhibit, January 11-April 11, 2007. Curator: Therese Pipe. This exhibit featured the activities of the Historical Society’s oral history program that captures first-hand accounts by old-timers of many aspects of Berkeley history. (Photo of Ruth Acty by Deborah Jensen, 1985).

Photo of Ruth Acty by Deborah Jensen, 1985
Picture of Arch on San Pablo at University, 1930s

Berkeley: A Look Back 75 Years Ago. January 11-April 11, 2007. Curator: Steven Finacom. Taking its name from the weekly “75 years ago” Berkeley history column the curator wrote for the Berkeley Voice newspaper, the exhibit looked at life and events during the Great Depression years of the 1930s.

Fermenting Berkeley. October 23, 2005-December 2006. Curated by Sue Austin, Linda Rosen and Daphne Tooke. Explored the production, sale, and social aspects of alcohol in Berkeley from the 1870s to 1970s. The “Wets vs the Drys” and Berkeley’s early prohibition were featured.

Old picture of people holding various alcoholic beverages
Old picture of police offices and their bicycles

The Berkeley Police Department: Innovations for a Century. April 10-September 25, 2005. Curated by Karen Hata with Linda Rosen and John Aronovici, First Police Chief August Vollmer built the department’s reputation worldwide as a center of “scientific policing,” and this work continues today.

Celebrating the Berkeley Fire Department’s Centennial. October 3, 2004–March 26, 2005. Curated by Kenneth Cardwell with Linda Rosen. From the Volunteer Fire Department’s Beacon #1 and a hose-cart named Tiger #1 to modern-day firefighters, this exhibit traced the history of the Berkeley Fire Department, its innovations, and the fires it has fought.

Picture of fire department using horse drawn equipment.
Photo of Charles Keeler in robes

Berkeley Bohemia, 1890-1925. April 25-September 18, 2004. Curated by Ed Herny, Shelley Rideout, and Katie Wadell. This exhibit focused on the colorful artistic community of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Berkeley—its inhabitants, ideals, and activities. The exhibit featured artifacts and photographs from the Historical Society archives and the community. (Photo of Charles Keeler)

Early Berkeley Women, 1878-1953. September 28, 2003-March 27, 2004. Curated by Phyllis Gale and Linda Rosen with sponsorship by the League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville and American Association of University Women Berkeley. The exhibit celebrated how women shaped Berkeley’s history, working alone and through their clubs. Featured women included: Idela Reed Marston, Lilian Bridgman, Mary Ritter Bennett, Millicent Shinn, Annie Alexander, Julia Morgan, Mary McHenry Keith, Florence Boynton, Louise Keeler, Ruth Acty, Leola Hall, Phoebe Hearst, Jane K. Sather, Carrie Hoyt, Fanny McLean, Haruko Obata, Annie Maybeck, Theresa Maria Jacquemena, Frances Albrier, and Tarea Hall Pittman. (Photo of Phoebe Apperson Hearst)

Photo of Phoebe Apperson Hearst
Picture of person pointing to pictorial history timeline

Pictorial Timeline of Berkeley History. April 1, 2003. Old City Hall. Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the City of Berkeley. Curated by Linda Rosen with the assistance of Steven Finacom, Phyllis Gale, Vicky Liu and Stephen Rosen.

“Time’s Noblest Offspring”: George Berkeley and the Naming of Berkeley, California. January 9-April 26, 2003. Curated by Steven Finacom. Commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of Bishop George Berkeley, the exhibit examined who the man was, how our town came to be named for him, and the meaning of the name “Berkeley” today.

Picture of Bishop George Berkeley
Colorful Poster promoting Berkeley

Recent Acquisitions. September 29-December 14, 2002. Curated by Kenneth Cardwell. Featuring photographs of the work of architect Bernard Maybeck, photographs by Hazel Wintler of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Tilden Park, twenty colored linoleum block prints titled “Scenes of Berkeley” by Albany artist Gerry Gaxiola “the Maestro,” and gowns and scarves created by Florence Boynton, friend of Isadora Duncan and the original owner of the Temple of the Wings. The reception also celebrated the CD release of Campanile carillon music, “All Hail! Blue and Gold,” produced by John Aronovici. Photo of Gerry Gaxiola work.

From the Attic and Sather Tower: The UC Campanile. March 17– September 13, 2002. Curated by Katie Wadell and the BHS Exhibit Committee. “From the Attic: Preserving and Sharing our Past” and a five lecture series explained the “insides” of museum work: preserving textiles, papers, and photographs and creating oral histories. Also shown were photos and artifacts depicting the history of Sather Tower, the Campanile, curated by John Aronovici.

Picture of Sather Tower
Picture of Key System streetcars ca 1903

The Decade of Change: 1900-1910. April 29, 2001–March 2002. Curated by Phil Gale. The decade from 1900 to 1910 was a period of tremendous change in Berkeley. The Key System streetcars began in 1903, encouraging housing developments as new lines were created. The San Francisco Earthquake of April 1906 brought an influx of immigrants and new businesses and the population tripled. As the downtown expanded, wooden Victorian buildings were replaced with masonry. New homes had telephones, combination gas and electric lighting, and gas instead of coal stoves. The Model T Ford was now available to the general population. Berkeley became a “city” rather than a “town” and had a paid police and fire department. Chief “Gus” Vollmer led the Berkeley Police Department to set innovative standards for the nation. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce lobbied to move the State Capital to Berkeley.

Berkeley’s Ethnic Heritage. May 7, 2000-April 14, 2001. Curated by Linda Rosen and the BHS Exhibit Committee. The exhibit examined the rich cultural diversity of our city and the contribution of individuals and minority groups to our history and development. We looked at the original native groups in the area and the immigrants who settled in Ocean View and displaced the Spanish land grant owners. We also examined the influence of the University of California, the San Francisco earthquake and WWII on the population and culture of Berkeley and subsequent efforts to overcome discrimination.

Picture of demonstration for diversity
Picture of Berkeley building ca 2000

Berkeley Then and Now. October 16, 1999-March 25, 2000. Curated by Kenneth Cardwell and Linda Rosen. The exhibit contrasted photographs of neighborhood scenes circa 1900 and 2000. Received a grant from the City of Berkeley through the Mayor’s Millennium Committee and the Berkeley City Council.

One Hundred Years of Artists in the Berkeley Community. April 24-September 25, 1999. Curated by Kenneth Cardwell and Linda Rosen. Featured artists William Keith, Edwin Deakin, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, David Lance Goines, Worth Ryder, Hans Hoffman, Perham Nahl, Eugen Neuhaus, Chiura Obata, David Park, John Emmett Gerrity, Karl Kasten, Mine Okubo, Urania Prince Cummings, Ariel Parkinson, Nancy Thompson Genn, Stefen, Elizabeth Ginno Winkler, Osha Neumann and O’Brien Thiele. (Watercolor by Chiura Obata)

Watercolor by Chiura Obata
1923 Photo

Berkeley Burning: The 75th Anniversary of the 1923 Fire. September 17, 1998–March 27, 1999. Curated by Steven Finacom and Peter Montgomery. Photographs and text on the 1923 North Berkeley fire. Exhibit opening featured film footage of the fire, interviews with survivors, speeches by Mayor Shirley Dean, Fire Chief Reginald Garcia, and a poem about the fire read by James Schevill.

Twentieth Anniversary of the Berkeley Historical Society. April-August 29, 1998. Curated by Ken Cardwell.

Old picture of Berkeley Historical Society logo
Picture of steam engine locomotive

The Louis Stein Collection: The Neighborhoods of Berkeley. November 13, 1997-March 28, 1998. Curated by Ken Cardwell, Burl Willes, and Carl Wilson. Louis L. Stein (1902-1996) was born and raised in Berkeley. He graduated from the UC School of Pharmacy in 1924 and in 1928 he opened the Arlington Pharmacy in Kensington. He loved local history and railroad history and collected vast numbers of photographs, documents and artifacts, which he happily shared with anyone interested in these subjects. This exhibit featured selections from the large collection he donated to the Berkeley Historical Society.

Berkeley Leads: Thirty-Five Years of Disability Rights. April 6– September 1997. Curated by Linda Rosen and Carole Krezman. Received the Phil Draper Award from the Center for Independent Living for chronicling the history of the disability rights movement in Berkeley. Received a grant from the Center for Independent Living and the 504 Anniversary Committee.

Picture of  demonstration by people in wheel chairs
Anti-Vietnam War poster: Mave Love not War

The Moving Wall. March 20-22, 1997. Curated by Ann Marks. This exhibit of anti-Vietnam War posters and memorabilia was in conjunction with the visit of the “Wall That Heals” replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Civic Center Park arranged by Country Joe McDonald.

Berkeley Literary Scene, fall 1996. Curated by Ken Cardwell. Featured the books and poetry of Berkeley writers Thacher Hurd, Jessica Bryant, Charles Keeler, Ursula Le Guin, and others. (Photo of Charles Keeler)

Photo of Charles Keeler
Picture of  Japanese couple in front of moving truck

The Japanese American Experience: A Berkeley Legacy, 1895-1995, summer-fall 1995. Curated by Bob Yamada. Featured the art of Chiura Obata and Japanese American history through 1995.

The Oakland-Berkeley Fire of 1991, fall 1994–spring 1995. Curated by Harold Adler, photographer, featuring his own photos of the firestorm and its devastation. (Photo © Harold Adler)

Photo by Harold Adler depicting burned motorcycles
Old Berkeley postcard

Drawing a Line: A Postcard Exhibit, summer 1994. Vintage postcard views of the city and campus, enlarged.

Berkeley on the Move: 100 Years of Public Transportation, April 15– 29, 1994. Curated by Phil Gale. The exhibition surveyed streetcar and train systems throughout Berkeley and the East Bay.

Picture of old bus and trolley
Poster promoting 1968 Berkeley folk music festival

Three Decades of Berkeley Folk Music, 1950-1980, November 27, 1993-April 1994. Curated by Burl Willes and Country Joe McDonald. Featured the poster and memorabilia collections of Deirdre and John Lundberg, Country Joe McDonald, and Barry Olivier.

History on the Park, July 7–November 7, 1993. Curated by Burl Willes. Featured civic institutions around the park—the city government, Berkeley High School, the fire and police departments, the Berkeley Hall of Fame, Berkeley Firsts, and our own history.

Picture of Berkeley Park