Veterans Day 2014 Recap!

The 2014 Veterans Day Celebration & Grand Re-Launch of the SS Red Oak Victory can only be described as a huge success! There was singing, local dignitaries, a fake broken campaign bottle, story time, great food, and great people!

The morning began with the JACs, a 40s style singing group, who welcomed guests to the Rigger’s Loft beginning at 10:30. The ceremony was opened at 11:00am by RMA Vice-President Jeff Wright, who welcomed all the guests and presided over the bell ringing to honor those who have passed over in 2014. The ceremony continued with George Miller’s aide Barbara Johnson presenting an American flag that flew over the Capital building in Washington DC on November 9, 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of when construction began on the SS Red Oak Victory. Next, John Gioia offered his remarks and thanks to our country’s brave veterans.

RMA President John Ziesenhenne and George Miller Aide Barbara Johnson with American Flag  that flew over the US Capitol on 11/9/2014.
RMA President John Ziesenhenne and George Miller Aide Barbara Johnson with American Flag that flew over the US Capitol on 11/9/2014.

The RMA was so honored to have one-time crew member Robert (Bob) Di Chiara, Sr. join us from Singer Island, Florida as the highlight of the program! Bob began his career on the SS Red Oak Victory by washing pots and pans, however, he quickly decided to spend his free time on the Bridge as he was hoping to quickly be reassigned up there. He got his wish and finished his career on the ship as a 3rd class Signalman. We were honored to interview Bob at the Richmond Museum of History the day before the ceremony. You can view of clip of his interview on You Tube here (courtesy of Ms. Lana Husser). Bob spoke for about 10 minutes to an enthralled crowd and by the end of his recollections you could hear a pin drop in the room as everyone was on the edge of their seat listening to him. Bob’s stories about life aboard the ship were priceless and we are so happy he literally came across the County to share them.

Bob with sign and text
Robert Di Chiara, Sr. aboard the SS Red Oak Victory during World War II; he served aboard the ship from 1944-1946.

Many other Veteran’s oriented community organizations helped us mark the occasion as well including the Richmond Veterans Resource Center, Richmond Artist Lady Cali/Alexis Williams, Our Angels, Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park, Chevron Richmond Veterans Initiative, Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Richmond Community Foundation! Thank you to all of the community organizations that helped honor our local veterans!

Riggers Loft Veterans Day 2014
Richmond resident Lady Cali (Alexis Williams) displays her Veteran inspired art during the ceremony.

The ceremony in the Rigger’s Loft concluded with a re-enactment of the launch of the SS Red Oak Victory and the festivities were then shifted to the SS Red Oak Victory. Guests were given a carnation to throw over the side of the ship as a remembrance to those Veterans gave all to preserve our freedoms. Lunch was served and children’s story time took place after the conclusion of the ceremony.

We are very pleased the 2014 Veteran’s Day event was well covered in the local newspapers including Contra Costa Times, Radio Free Richmond, Richmond Confidential, and Richmond Standard.

Thanks to our sponsor (Chevron Richmond), all our community partners, the media, and our friends for joining us! See you next year!




What do you know about the Blues Clubs that used to exist in North Richmond?

The Richmond Museum of History staff is conducting research on the blues clubs that existed in North Richmond during the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately, the museum collection includes only scant about this fascinating and important time of Richmond history. So, we are asking members of our community to come forth with anecdotes, photographs, and artifacts/memorabilia related to the blues scene in Richmond.

blues club

Bill and Josephine Burrus eating a meal at the Brown Derby Night club and Caf?. Josephine is wearing the sailor suit, other two ladies are unidentified. Bill Burrus owned the Brown Derby Night Club and Caf? in North Richmond during the 1950s. Courtesy of Dr. Betty Burrus-Wright.

Don?t know much about North Richmond Blues Clubs? Check out this video in the Exploration of our History series by filmmaker Doug Harris:

Minnie Lou?s, Jazzland Records, Do Drop Inn, Fred?s Place, Brown Derby, Tapper?s Inn, and Club Savoy are just a few of the blues clubs we want to learn more about! If you have information about any of these businesses or other blues clubs in Richmond, please call museum staff at (510) 235-7387.

Richmond Museum Association celebrates 60 years of preserving Richmond?s history!

In 1952, a dedicated group of volunteers began a local history room in Richmond?s Carnegie Library building. Two years later, in 1954, the Richmond Museum Association (RMA) was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Sixty years later, we are delighted to continue to carry out our mission to preserve Richmond?s history!

60 years

To celebrate the occasion, the RMA is giving away commemorative 60th anniversary pins to each and every member of our organization! The pin is a just a small token of appreciation to thank the members for their continued support for the Richmond Museum of History, the SS Red Oak Victory and the preserving Richmond?s history! Members can obtain their pin at the Richmond Museum of History, located at 400 Nevin Avenue in the City of Richmond. Not a member yet? Join today, as all new members in 2014 will receive a complimentary pin (while supplies last).

60 years 2

Help the Richmond Museum of History Renovate the Permanent Exhibit!

The Richmond Museum of History is very proud to be one of the oldest organizations dedicated to local history in West County! Although many things get better with age, museum exhibits do not always age gracefully. The permanent exhibit at the Richmond Museum of History was installed in 1980 and we are excited to announce we are fundraising to renovate it! The exhibit renovation will be completed in stages by chronology, so the first area that will be redone is the Native American section of the permanent exhibit. Richmond was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before arrival of the Spanish, and that time period has been the subject of considerable research.

The permanent exhibit will be interpretive, interactive, and accessible to all in our community when it is completely finished. We intend for the exhibit to present multiple points of view, so that all people in our diverse community will feel accurately represented. Will you please consider making a small donation toward the renovation effort?

Another Successful Historic Film Festival on the SS Red Oak Victory!

The August 21, 2014 screening of Harvey (1950) concluded the latest installment of the Historic Film Festival (HFF) aboard the SS Red Oak Victory in conjunction with our partners at the National Park Service Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center. We are celebrating the most successful HFF to date, as all films were well attended. The screening of Casablanca (1942) on July 10th was attended by nearly 100 people!


A Guy Named Joe (1943) was shown at the Red Oak Victory on August 7, 2014

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2014 summer film festival! Stay tuned for the forthcoming announcement of the next series of films!

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