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Historical museum ready for move to Walnut Grove

SAN MARCOS — Plans for moving the San Marcos Historical Museum were kicked into high gear when City Council unanimously approved June 9 its relocation and expansion. The new museum will set up shop next to the historic Bidwell and Cox homes in Walnut Grove Park.
“We are very excited, as a board, to move out and have a one stop shop location,” Historical Society President Tanis Brown said at the meeting.
The San Marcos Historical Museum is both a research library and an exhibit hall. There are artifacts in period settings dating to the last century. Docents run tours for elementary school children, teaching them how to churn their own butter, wash clothes on boards and otherwise experience the joys of Victorian living.
A feature of east San Marcos Boulevard since 1992, the museum has to make way for the expansion of an elementary school on that site.
The school district and the city are funding the move.
There is no question that things are going to be chaotic for a while. The relocation of the museum will begin by July 24 and likely won’t be finished before the end of the year. During that time, the Cox home will house the research library, which will be online by early August.
The society has big plans for Heritage Park. The Bidwell and Cox homes are due for intense makeovers. They will be outfitted with entirely period furnishings and the decades-old wiring will be replaced with modern equipment.
In addition to the new museum, there are plans to move the historic fire house on Pico Avenue out to the park as well. There is an old fire engine to put inside, too, currently being restored by Palomar College students. Brown said the hope is that the area will become a Heritage Village, drawing the community in a big way. City Council shared that sentiment.
“I really just look forward to all the possibilities once you’re all together,” Councilwoman Rebecca Jones said. “Maybe you can have a snack bar in there, maybe generate some money, and maybe you could have weddings.”
Museum Director Maryanne Cioe said the museum got a lot of foot traffic because of its prominent location on a busy street. But she also expects the museum to do well in its new site.
“I think eventually we’ll do well out there,” Cioe said. “We’ll just have to do a lot of fundraising and have a lot of attractions. Give people a reason to go out there.”
Until late July, the San Marcos Historical Museum will be at 270 W. San Marcos Blvd. Museum hours are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Call (760) 744-9025 for details.