Dixon is a town with a storied history but no physical location to showcase it.
That could change soon, as an application for a museum downtown will go before the Planning Commission Tuesday.
One of the goals of the Dixon Historical Society since its founding in 1987 has been to establish a local museum to exhibit the town’s history, celebrate its heritage and preserve its artifacts. Other Solano County cities with similar museums include Vacaville, Vallejo, Benicia and Rio Vista.
Loran Hoffman, vice president of the Dixon Historical Society, wrote in an email to Associate Planner Scott Greeley that the organization was founded by descendants of pioneer families who “recognized people were leaving the area and removing artifacts representing Dixon’s past” and “joined together to preserve and protect Dixon’s heritage.”
“The Society now has a place to share the artifacts and memorabilia that has been saved these many years,” she wrote.
As a result, one of the long-term goals of the Society has been to open a physical museum to showcase these artifacts as well as Dixon’s history and growth. Numerous fundraisers have been held over the years which will continue even after a location is secured to make the museum even more of a reality.
For now, it appears a location has been identified at 125 West A St. Until recently, the space had been home to organic grocery store and coffee shop The Barn & Pantry, which recently moved down the street and merged with A Street Cafe. Greeley wrote in a staff report that the Dixon Historical Society submitted an application Sept. 21 for a conditional use permit and a sign permit for the location.
Greeley wrote that the site is designated as “Downtown Commercial” and that the project calls for a non-illuminated sign that uses the same font as the “Coast Icehouse” sign already painted on the building but smaller in keeping with the historical nature. The new sign would be placed next to the front doors.
Hoffman wrote that planned hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays, although arrangements can be made to extend the museum’s hours to accommodate school field trips, out-of-town visitors, and city and community-sponsored activities.
Additionally, Hoffman wrote that two volunteers — one serving as a docent for the displays and exhibits — will be at the museum during the hours it is open to the public. As many as two to 10 volunteers will be on-site at any given time to serve as docents, provide administrative support, conduct historic research, develop exhibits and displays, and present programs and tours which will often feature speakers. Such activities would occur between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week.
As many as three to four exhibits would be featured on a rotating basis each year.
“Exhibits will be diverse, multi-faceted, and contain photos, videos, print, and tactile elements,” Hoffman wrote. “The California School curriculum standards will be used to develop exhibits and study guides for school age children, specifically those in fourth grade. Local historical publications and memorabilia will be available for those interested.”
Hoffman also wrote the plan was to make it more than a typical museum but rather a “cultural experience” with monthly programs featuring local and regional historians, writers, artisans and musicians.
“Offering cultural experiences such as these will expand our audience by encouraging folks that may not appreciate visiting a museum to walk through the doors and discover their hometown history,” she wrote.
Greeley wrote that the application was sent to the Fire and Engineering departments, and no issues were raised. He opined that the project was a good fit for downtown Dixon.
“The downtown reflects Dixon’s heritage and this use, a historical museum, is very appropriate for Dixon’s downtown,” he wrote. “The operations are in scale and fully complement the intent of the business’ that are expected to be downtown. The proposed signage also honors the building’s history and is appropriate for the location.”
In other business, the commission will consider an application for a residential care center on a vacant lot at Gateway Drive. The commission will also consider other items such as the Alcoholic Beverage Control applications for the new Grocery Outlet and the design review for the second phase of the Homestead subdivision project which were scheduled to be heard at last month’s meeting until the meeting was cut short because of extensive power outages in the city.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the following link: us02web.zoom.us/j/9886211137?pwd=R2dxZ3RkbU9SQXdlUVllRkc0QlQwZz09. Members of the public may participate by joining the virtual meeting or by calling (669) 900-9128 for teleconferencing. The meeting ID is 988 621 1137. The public may give comments by clicking on the “Raise Hand” function on Zoom or by pressing *9 if teleconferencing. Comments may also be emailed to [email protected] prior to the meeting.