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A Visit to the Maidu Museum and Historic Site is educational and fun for the entire family.

April 23, 2013

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By Heather Crivellone

The Sacramento valley sits upon some of the most interesting history.  From the days of the Gold Rush to the history of the California Railroad, to Sutters Fort and the Indian tribes that surrounded us.. we have the opportunity to explore and teach our children some of the most amazing historical facts of our region.
Recently, we discovered the Maidu Indian Museum in Roseville.  I grew up around this area and was pleasantly surprised by this “hidden” discovery and the history that is among this area.

The Maidu Indian Center was built on the edge of an ancient village site in which Nisenan Maidu families thrived for over 3,000 years.  Our historic site was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 because of its importance as a unique cultural resource due to the hundreds of bedrock mortar holes and the numerous petroglyphs carved into the sandstone boulders strewn across the north end of the site.  In addition, a vast midden area is telling evidence of thousands of years of occupation.”

The two-story museum has interactive exhibits explaining the life of the Niesenan Maidu families and how they lived during this time.  Along with the exhibits, they also have a beautiful trail (a little under a mile long) that takes you past petroglyphs, bedrock mortars, towering oaks and a year- round stream.  This trail is easily accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and those of us who just like to take a “leisurely stroll”.

My kids’ short attention spans were kept engaged in the museum by the exhibit drawers that pulled out and learning about the toys the Maidu children would play with.  They also enjoyed doing their own petroglyph rubbings, puzzles and especially enjoyed the trails outside.  When we visited, we had perfect weather for our stroll and had the opportunity to chase butterflies, search for coyotes (luckily we didn’t see any) and exploring the ancient bedrock mortar holes and boulders that are along the trail.

This is a great place for any and all children (or adults) to learn about the Maidu Indians who resided in this area and how they lived.  The center is open Monday- Friday 9am-4pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.  Admission into the center is $4.50 for adults, $4 for children and seniors or $16 for a family of four
Weekday afternoon discounts are given Monday- Friday from 2pm-4pm and the cost of admission during this time is only $2.
The third Saturday of the month, the museum is open in the evening from 6:30-8:30pm for Roseville’s Third Saturday Art Walk.  At this time, the museum is open and free to everyone.

And this Sunday, April 28 from 10am-3pm join the museum for a FREE family fun event. Yomen: A Spring Celebration.  There will be dance groups, art and craft demonstrations, guided tours, children’s activities, a craft fair and all sorts of foods will be on sale.  This is a fun event for the entire family.  This Free event does get crowded, so arriving early to park is highly recommended.

One thing to note if you do plan on visiting the museum- like many other  museums, photography is not allowed in the center.  Outside and along the trail you can use your camera, but don’t plan on taking any shots inside.  Also, the center is located at 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive in Roseville.  There are plenty of food establishments around this area, so I wouldn’t suggest packing a lunch.  Just go and enjoy the history of the center, learn some facts in the museum and explore the trails… leave the food, snacks and  cameras at home.
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