New exhibit 'California Indians: The First Inhabitants' now open at Museum of the San Ramon Valley

Exhibit open in downtown Danville through Nov. 10

Fall is just around the corner and at Danville’s Museum of the San Ramon Valley that means it’s time to break out the Native American artifacts for its annual exhibit highlighting the lives of California’s original inhabitants.

Open for visitors of downtown Danville now, the exhibit entitled “California Indians: The First Inhabitants” features archaeological artifacts and displays that help depict how Californians lived well over 5,000 years ago.

This year’s exhibit pays particular attention to how how Native Americans were able to harvest, process and store food to last the winter, while also highlighting the peoples’ housing, tools, food and entertainment.

Museum officials say an exciting new addition to this year’s exhibit is a display on handmade Native American baskets, which were applied to a variety of uses such as gathering, cooking, sifting seeds, drying meat and fruit, and more.

“Basket weaving was considered a sacred tradition and an absolute necessity for the Indians,” said John Keenan, spokesperson for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. In a world that had no pantries, shelves or cupboards, baskets were a critical item that served multiple purposes. Today we are struck by the quality and beauty of these baskets.”

Commenting on what “exquisite works of art” the baskets are, Keenan added: “Even baskets woven for functional use may contain elaborate design patterns and complex stitching. The museum is thankful to the collector for allowing us to display part of his collection.”

Open now through Nov. 10, “California Indians: The First Inhabitants” can be viewed at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, which is located in the restored Southern Pacific depot, 205 Railroad Ave. in Danville.

Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays Noon to 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person, $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children. Members can visit the exhibit for free.

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