Museum Visit Is A Blast Into Antioch’s Past

By Ray Faulkenberry

When I was a kid I can’t say that I was a big fan of museums. They seemed boring as I looked at paintings, or sculptures – things I wasn’t very interested in at the time.

A few months back my wife, Linda, displayed one of her paintings at the Antioch Historical Museum located at 1500 W. Fourth Street in downtown. I remember turning into the building and saying, “I’ve been around Antioch since 1977 and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this.” Granted, the location is where Fourth Street bends around and heads downtown (depending on which way you’re coming), and I guess I just paid attention to the turn and didn’t bother to catch the historical building with the beautiful lawn on the corner.

When we went in to pick up her painting, I went inside and quickly was taken aback by the layout of the place. It had rooms that were labeled things like “Library,” “Bride’s Room,” “Theatre,” “Family Room,” “Child’s Room,” “Saloon,” “City Hall” and “Delta Room.” We only had a few minutes as they were closing, so I quickly sped through the rooms, fascinated by the history.

Linda was talking with someone about her painting, and so I wandered downstairs and got your typical guy’s dream: A Sports Hall of Fame. I only had about five minutes and so I could only briefly peruse the exhibits. But as they ushered us out, I was literally blown away by what I had found right here in Antioch.

Fast forward and when asked to write an article about the Antioch Historical Museum by the paper, I jumped on it. I called and left a message about what I wanted to do, and shortly thereafter got a return call from a gentleman named Bob Martin. Bob, an enthusiastic soul, took me on a lengthy tour of the facility. On this go-round, however, I not only got to take the time to look closely at what amazing facts and artifacts were in the museum, I also got a first-hand tour by someone who not only loved the museum, but loved Antioch as well!

There were so many things to do and see here that I knew I could spend all day in the museum and still not see it all. What was also appealing was this wasn’t just any other museum – it was OUR museum, Antioch’s! This is the history of the town that we live in and let me tell you, we have a rich, wild history.

Where else can you get to look at AND PLAY WITH an authentic telephone operator’s switchboard! This was the kind of switchboard where they take one plug and hooked it into another and each person’s number was only three digits! The “City Hall” room has records, ledgers, and documents about industry and business over the last hundred years or so. You can pull these huge old books down and actually look at the facts and figures contained within!

They have a small theatre in which some of the seats, carpet, and memorabilia from our very own Campanil Theatre create this intimate little setting. It seats thirty people and you can see and touch the actual OLD projector that showed the film.

I had only planned to be there for a half an hour or so but after two hours I was still thrilled with the history of Antioch and how I could get up close and personal with these incredible artifacts.

However, being the jock that I am, I was excited to once again go downstairs and look at the Sports Legend Hall of Fame. This hall of fame can stand up to anybody’s in the state. It is an incredible tribute to the athletes that have come through Antioch in its rich history. There is a section for Deer Valley as well as Antioch High School. There are awards, pictures and memorabilia of people who have gone on to play professional sports. Gino Marchetti, an NFL Hall of Famer, went to Antioch High School along with many other great athletes from various sports!

I loved the replica barber shop that sits in one corner of the Hall of Fame. It is totally authentic and the type of barber shop that most adult men (granted, over 50!) grew up in. This is often where the men went to not only get their hair cut, but to also hang out and talk sports with their friends. Television monitors with incredible images bring a modern touch to the Hall of Fame and is truly deserving of being among the best in the state.

I could go on and on about what is in the museum MEMORABILIA-WISE. However, what is of equal value are the truly incredibly living souls that donate their time to act as docents to the museum. Not only was Bob an amazing host, in addition he introduced me to Liz Rimbault whose nephew I went to school with and played ball with at, dare I say, a rival high school called Clayton Valley. (Please don’t boo – I found my way to the correct side of the hill!)

Anyway, Liz is another soul who is full of information, facts and, what I liked best, stories! Liz introduced me to Laura Jacques, another sweet soul who, when it comes to setting up displays, is the Michelangelo of memorabilia arrangement. These souls not only are wonderfully intelligent and entertaining people – they care.

They cared enough to write a grant, so that when the school district ran out of money to transport the kids by bus to come to the museum, they could still provide transportation so that all the kids in third grade in Antioch can come and witness this amazing museum. That’s the kind of people associated with the museum.

It is at this point that I have a few points here I want to make.

• In a time when we are racing around in our lives, on computers, going to work, raising families, and staying very busy, now is the time to also reflect on where we as a community have come from. Community is so very important and if we don’t as individuals practice it, we will continue to fragment ourselves away into our own little world and the sense of community will become extinct.

• Go to the museum in the town that you live in. It is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

• Make sure you have one of the amazing souls who are full of stories, insights, and tidbits of information take you on a tour as they can tell you so much more than the fascinating things you may see and find on your own.

• Did I mention that it is FREE? Their brochure says that the price of admission is merely your curiosity.

The last thing that I want to say is that I find that as I get older I want to stop and recognize where my life has gone and what stages I have gone through. All of us, no matter what era we live in, go through similar stages. We experience school, our friends, toys, life, marriage, family, career, and the technology of our time. Technology changes but the stages we all go through don’t.

Come and check out what our Antioch kin experienced in their era and celebrate being a part of this community – our community. I’m still not a big fan of typical museums. However, this is not a typical museum run by typical people.

Ray Faulkenberry, Ph.D. is a business analyst, consultant, author, coach, and entrepreneur. Log onto his website through 2011 and receive his books on success, leadership, and transformation for free. He can be reached at or

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