07/24/2014 11:18AM ● Published by Paul Boerger
The Many Delights of the Sisson Museum
The Sisson Museum’s mission is to assist in “illuminating the past, present and future of the Mount Shasta region,” and combining to breathe new life into this Mount Shasta mainstay are well-conceived educational presentations, fresh exhibits, a spectacular new mural and a fresh spirit of volunteerism.
“There is an overall feeling of rejuvenation for the museum in its exhibits, its community outreach, and new educational programs,” said executive director Jean Nels.
“The renewal is partly due to the new members on the board of trustees and new volunteers.”
Nels said a quote written by a visitor in the guest book captures the museum’s essence perfectly: “Beautifully done and organized. Seems all inclusive of all parties that have lived here and developed the area. Obviously, you have some good volunteers.”
Created in 1983 from a fish hatchery building (don’t miss the teeming trout ponds next door) by a dedicated group of community volunteers, the museum packs an impressive amount of lore, history, artifacts and displays into a venue that offers a fascinating and instructive
overview of Mount Shasta and surrounding area. From the earliest Native Americans to the railroads to the spiritual and recreational lure of 14,179-foot Mount Shasta, Sisson Museum spans an impressive swath of history and culture.
Water has never been more important, and “H2O, Stories Water Can Tell” offers an in-depth examination through displays, pictures and multimedia of how essential water is to life, from Native Americans to water issues confronting people today. The museum was assisted by Cal Trout and The Nature Conservancy in creating the exhibit. Volunteers organize and present simple interactive experiments and information on water to the visitors.
Kids are welcome and the interactive play room offers a variety of hands-on activities, often led by friendly, knowledgeable volunteers. The huge model railroad, a detailed, historic HO gauge replication of a route from Dunsmuir to Mount Shasta, delights young and old alike. Yes, you can push buttons to make the trains go.
When lenticular clouds come swirling around Mount Shasta, downtown strollers are often brought to an awe-inspired halt. In 2012, the museum created “Lenticulars – The Spectacular Clouds of Mount Shasta” that brought together dozens of breathtaking pictures from local photographers in addition to the science of these amazing natural phenomena.
Native Americans are represented with a basket display, artifacts in the mural exhibit, history and reliance on water, along with poet/adventurer Juan Joaquin Miller’s experiences with local tribes.
The museum grounds offer a grassy park with picnic tables and the fish hatchery with huge ponds where California breeds the trout that are released into our rivers. A large meeting room in the back hosts a variety of community events. Check the website for the schedule.
First timers will be impressed with what this small but exquisite museum has to offer. Those who have not visited in a while will immediately see that the Sisson Museum is not your grandmother’s exhibition hall.
Hours vary with the seasons.