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Gold Rush! (Oakland Museum of California)
In commemoration of the 1848 California Gold Rush, the Oakland Museum opened a series of exhibitions and created this online companion site. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, this virtual tour of the museum's exhibition offers an extensive (roughly 5000-word) narrative of the gold rush and its history, illustrated with over 50 images of posters, photographs, artifacts, and art related to the gold rush. Three audio narratives discuss details of the discovery of gold and the resulting massive westward migration. Also included on the site are 28 images of artwork and 22 photographs of related subjects. Site visitors can explore the experiences of Chinese, Latino/Californio, Native American and African American peoples who participated in the rush. Links to three curriculum sites and sample curriculum materials are available for grades 4, 5, 8, and 11; five curriculum units and 18 lesson plans can be purchased from the museum. The site is ideal for researching California history and westward expansion.
The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco (The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco)
Created and maintained by museum curator Gladys Hanson, this site provides access to 11 major online exhibits on the history of California and San Francisco. Exhibits include the California Gold Rush of 1849; the San Francisco earthquakes of 1906 and 1989; the history of the San Francisco Fire Department; and the building of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. These online exhibits provide event timelines and links to over 200 primary documents and images in the museum's collection, such as newspaper articles, diary entries, oral histories, photographs, political cartoons, and engravings. Images have brief descriptive captions (25-50 words). Two of the online exhibits are chronologies: one of events in San Francisco during World War II, and one of rock music in San Francisco, 1965 to 1969. The site also contains over 150 biographies of prominent San Franciscans under the categories of Arts and Entertainment; Business and Civic; Labor; Military; Political; Religious; and Sports. An easy to use site index is searchable alphabetically, by subject, or by year. Ideal for research on California and San Francisco history, particularly the Gold Rush and the earthquake of 1908.
California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties (American Memory, Library of Congress)
This site features 35 hours of folk and popular music sound recordings from several European, Slavic, Middle Eastern, and English- and Spanish-speaking communities. The Work Projects Administration California Folk Music Project collected these 817 songs, in 12 languages and representing 185 musicians, in Northern California between 1938 and 1940. The collection also includes 168 photographs of musicians, 45 scale drawings and sketches of instruments, and numerous written documents, including ethnographic field reports and notes, song transcriptions, published articles, and project correspondence. Organized by folk music collector Sidney Robertson Cowell, sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley, and cosponsored by the Archive of the American Folk Song, this was one of the earliest ethnographic field projects to document folk and popular music of such diverse origin in one region. In addition to folk music of indigenous and immigrant groups, the collection includes popular songs from the Gold Rush and Barbary Coast eras, medicine show tunes, and ragtime numbers. In addition, short essays describe the California Folk Music Project and the ethnographic work of Sidney Robertson Cowell. This collection is an excellent resource for learning about ethnographic research practices as well as about cultures of various California ethnic groups.
"California as I Saw It:" First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900 (American Memory, Library of Congress)
The 190 works presented on this site├"´┐Ż´┐Żapproximately 40,000 written pages and more than 3,000 illustrations├"´┐Ż´┐Żprovide eyewitness accounts covering California history from the Gold Rush through the end of the 19th century. Most authors represented are white, educated, male Americans, including reporters detailing Gold Rush incidents and visitors from the 1880s attracted to a highly-publicized romantic vision of California life. The narratives, in the form of diaries, descriptions, guidebooks, and subsequent reminiscences, portray "pioneer experience, encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them, the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, agriculture, and urban development; the often-turbulent growth of communities and cities; and California's emergence as both a state and a place of uniquely American dreams." A map of California from 1900, texts, 20 illustrations and photographs, a bibliography for further reading, and a comprehensive discussion of the collection's strengths and weaknesses provide useful context for first-person accounts. A special presentation recounts early California history illustrated with paintings, engravings, and photographs.
"California As We Saw It": Exploring The California Gold Rush (California State Library)
This exhibit from the California State Library includes a short introductory essay but Curator Gary F. Kurutz. The heart of the exhibit pulls together document and images from the library's collection that illustrate the history of the gold rush, including the discovery of gold, migration to California, and mining life. Divided into thirteen sections, these artifacts provide an excellent range of materials from the first decade of the gold rush.