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OP-ED: Preserving the past, building the future
January 25, 2014, 05:00 AM By David J. Canepa

David J. Canepa

San Mateo County is home to more than 700,000 people. Our county has people of diverse interests and diverse backgrounds. As a fourth-generation San Mateo County resident and mayor of Daly City, I take tremendous pride in this wonderful county. While we always have to look toward the future of this great county, it is also essential that we reflect on our rich past. 

The San Mateo County Historical Association creates a platform where our county’s rich history is accessible for future generations through different historic locations and exhibits. Each year more than 19,000 children and their chaperons participate in interactive tours of the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City, Woodside Store on Kings Mountain Road in Woodside, Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica and Folger Stable in Woodside. These hands-on programs enable students to make candles and mold bricks at the Sanchez Adobe, craft shell necklaces, grind acorns and play traditional Native American games at the history museum, wash clothes with a washboard at the Woodside Store, use an apple press to make juice at Folger Stable and so much more.

In addition to the school programs, SMCHA offers a number of education programs, including lectures, films, reenactments, workshops, family programs; it runs a research library and archives, acts as the primary facility for collecting and preserving historic materials of the Peninsula, is the clearing house for local historic preservation issues and publishes a journal and other scholarly pieces. Between the three sites, and outreach programs, SMCHA serves more than 50,000 visitors each year.

The history museum is home to several permanent exhibit galleries that tell the story of San Mateo County. This coming year, the Charles Parsons Ships of the World Gallery will receive a $58,674 renovation. Improvements will include children’s interactive stations, new video productions, murals depicting historic maritime scenes of the San Mateo County coast and Bayshore, plus new paint and graphics. These changes are particularly exciting, because the new interactive additions will be more effective in reaching elementary school social science curriculum standards for our first and second graders. Furthermore, with the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end approaching (2015), visitors will be interested to see depictions of South San Francisco Navy ship yards, where ships for the war were built. The gallery will reopen with a series of special celebrations on March 16, 2014.

While SMCHA continues its tremendous work, it cannot do it by itself. SMCHA, a member-supported nonprofit organization, depends on funds raised from its annual campaign, which account for 40 percent of our annual budget. A large part of these private donations underwrite the visits of our school children throughout the county. As the chairman of the 2014 annual campaign, I hope you will consider helping us continue to preserve the past and build the future. 

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the San Mateo County Historical Association or become a volunteer please call me directly at (415) 513-9410 or call the Development Office at (650) 299-0104, extension 229. Also, feel free to visit their website at

David J. Canepa is the mayor of Daly City.



Tags: county, mateo, programs, smcha, historic, woodside,

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