Richmond Museum of History & Culture
Part Time Museum Educator
The mission of the Richmond Museum of History & Culture (RMHC) is to interpret, preserve and educate about local history in the greater Richmond, CA area. The Museum is housed in a Carnegie Library and owns a significant collection of historical material and documents related to local history. The permanent collection was established in 1950 and is comprised of a variety of materials including textiles, fine art, archaeological collections, historical artifacts, documents, photographs.
The RMHC was awarded funds through the Economic and Community Investment Agreement program to support the museum education program focused on local K-12 classrooms. In response to the COVID 19 epidemic the museum will develop a distance learning program with educational films and virtual tours of the museum exhibits.
The Museum Educator(s) will be responsible for several tasks related to the distance education program including: collaborate with staff and videographer to create short educational films, refining the existing teachers guide, coordinating and implementing virtual field trips, conducting evaluations for students and teachers. The Community Engagement Manager is the lead on this project and the educator position reports directly to them.
- Bachelor?s Degree in history, art, anthropology or related field
- Teaching or Museum Experience desired
- Interest California History
- Local candidates preferred
- BIPOC candidates strongly encouraged to apply
The position pays $15-$18 hourly and is 10-20 hours per week depending on teacher demand. The position lasts through the end of school year in June 2021. Successful candidate must pass a background check.
To apply please send a letter of interest, resume and three references in pdf format to Evelyn Santos Community Engagement Manager at Evelyn@richmondmuseum.org. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 PM on Friday August 7, 2020.
Richmond & the Spanish Flu
Dr. Charles Robert Blake (September 9, 1869 – December 27, 1944) was the public health officer in charge when the Spanish Flu swept through the City of Richmond in 1918-1919. The museum archives holds the secrets about how our community emerged stronger from past epidemics.
Charles Robert Blake was born September 9, 1869 in Visalia California. He attended public schools throughout his life and attended University of California for Medical School graduating in 1891.
Charles is listed as residing at 1844 Geary Street in San Francisco but the historical buildings there have since been demolished. OpenSFHistory.org allows us a peek of his neighborhood with a photograph of the intersection of Geary and Steiner on October 18, 1916.
Charles worked for several years in Hawaii after graduating from medical school. He married Lilian Hoog of Oakland in 1898 and they had one son Herbert in 1900. The 1900 census lists Charles, Lilian and baby Herbert living in the City of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Charles came to Richmond in 1903 and was elected to the City Council as early as 1907.?
Dr. Blake enacted many important changes to improve public health in the City of Richmond, aspects of life that many of us take for granted today. In 1914 he set out on a mosquito abatement campaign while also managing outbreaks of diptheria and measles.?
In 1916, Dr. Blake began requiring all milk sold in local markets to be pasteurized when the State board of health did not require pasteurization of milk tested with tuberculin.
In 1917, Dr. Blake crusaded for improvements in the outdoor Municipal Market, complaining that dirty water, unsanitary food storage and nearby open latrines were a threat to public health.?
Dr. Blake worked as a public health official until 1943 and navigated the changes brought with the influx of people that came here to work in the Kaiser Shipyards. He voiced his concerns for overall public health in the City of Richmond warning the health of the City would explode from unsanitary conditions. Widespread vaccinations of over 10,000 children was celebrated as one of the successes attributed to Dr. Blake during his tenure as a public health officer.
Dr. Blake died in 1944 having served as Health Commissioner up until the previous year. His last days as a public health official were spent managing the boomtown conditions of Richmond during World War II.
Stay tuned for more coverage on Dr. Blake and the Spanish Flu in the City of Richmond.
Richmond & the Spanish Flu
The Spanish Flu raged through the United States approximately one hundred years ago.? Like all small towns in the United States, daily life in the City of Richmond was deeply impacted by the epidemic.
We found these three articles in the museum archives from the Richmond Daily Independent dated October 21, 1918.
Just like COVID 19 today, essential workers were particularly hard hit by the Spanish Flu. The post office was no exception, the article above reporting the mail carrier and several employees had been out sick because they had contracted the disease.
The newspaper article below reported thirteen deaths in the previous 24 hours. The dead included eight males, three females and two of indeterminate gender with an age range from infant to thirty eight. Limited information about the victims are presented including occupation in some cases. The men were employed at Standard Oil Company (now Chevron), Hercules Powder Works and Wells Fargo Express. The last entry in the list is interesting because it indicates local physicians were in high demand and difficult to engage. Pinole resident Manuel Rodriguez, aged 33, died before he had the opportunity to be seen by a doctor.
The final article we have from October 21, 1918 is full of interesting facts demonstrating similarities between the Spanish Flu and COVID19. The State Board of Health issued formal guidance in local newspapers, equivalent to today’s media advisory. Restrictions to curb the spread of the Spanish Flu include social distancing, self quarantine, masks, hand washing and disinfectant. Thankfully, nurses no longer use bichloride of mercury or liquor cresol, because they’re both harmful substances. The scarcity of gauze is another interesting similarity between the modern and historical epidemics.
Richmond & the Spanish Flu (1918-1919)
The Spanish Flu raged through the United States approximately one hundred years ago. The country had just entered World War I and the first cases of Spanish Flu were reported at military camps in Spring 1918.
We dug deep into our archives to learn more about how the Spanish Flu impacted the City of Richmond. The newspaper clippings files in the RMHC archives are a trusted wealth of information about all major historical events in Richmond. The file on the Spanish Flu in Richmond includes dozens of articles dating mainly from October 1918 to January 1919. The first article in this series includes fun double meaning and references to popular culture of the time.
“For the first time in the history of the City,
Richmond is a bone dry town and
for the first time too old John Barleycorn received a solar-plexus knockout“
October 19, 1918, Richmond Daily Independent Newspaper.? ? ??
My first response to this headline was “Ok, what?!?”
The headline is a metaphor stating the City Health Commissioner had Richmond Police closed down all the bars in Richmond. Apparently, the many saloons in Richmond had ignored the previous health department orders to shut all non-essential businesses. So heroic Dr. Blake had a police officer personally visit and close down every bar in the City of Richmond. More to come about heroic City Health Commissioner Dr. Blake later!
Let’s break down the langue in the headline. John Barleycorn refers to a historical British folk song about barley, the basis for many alcoholic drinks. Solar plexus knockout means a hard punch to the stomach, likely referring to the popularity of boxing in that period. The solar plexus is an anatomical term referring to a bundle of nerves located in the stomach.
The bars refused to abide by shelter in place and boldly remained open? Wow! How would the public have responded if that happened today?
Apparently, there were a lot of bars or saloons in Richmond during the early 20th Century as well. Just check out this partial list of saloons from the 1914/5 Polk’s Directory for the City of Richmond (courtesy of Internet Archive).
The second article in our archives from October 19, 1919 provides more grim details about the Spanish Flu in Richmond. Dr. Blake has closed all the schools, churches and bars, and ordered the community to wear masks in public. He states the apex (or worst) of the flu epidemic is yet to come.? A total of 96 new cases of flu have been reported and four individuals have died in a period of only 24 hours.
Local history is important because it demonstrated people have overcome adversity in the past and inspires people to be strong through their own trials. The City of Richmond has endured epidemics in the past and we will emerge from COVID19 stronger and more resilient.
We hope to bring you more notes from the archives about the Spanish Flu in the City of Richmond. Stay tuned!