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Preserving the Unique History of Petaluma and Providing Educational and Cultural Services to the Community

20 Fourth Street, Petaluma
(Corner of 4th and B Street)


Find all our Current Brown Paper Ticket Events here

Interested in volunteering at the Petaluma Museum?

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 Our Current Exhibit:


Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers

Personal Images & Public Stories of a California Rivertown

June 10 to September 24, 2017
Hours: Thurs. – Sat. 10 to 4, Sun. noon to 3
Admission to the exhibition is free


An exhibition of photographs from the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum and the Sonoma County Library portrait collections.

Online Resource

This exhibit is supported by a web-based catalogue of images which can be accessed at:

Please take a moment to visit and enjoy the visual richness of the many Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers from the collection of the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.

As the availability and popularity of camera portraiture grew in the 1850’s and 60’s, so did the booming frontier town of Petaluma, California. The pioneers took full advantage of the services offered by their town’s entrepreneurial photographers, preserving for us the opportunity to observe their faces and demeanor in rich intimate detail and connect them to the stories of their accomplishments and experiences.


Scheduled Events:


Jeff Elliott

Petaluma’s Three Crises

Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 2:00


Jeff Elliott, Santa Rosa historian, will discuss three historic crises faced by the Petaluma community: Petaluma’s conflict with the rest of Sonoma county as being the only town outspoken in opposition to the confederacy; how the town resisted anti-Chinese bigotry after the infamous murder of the Wickershams; how Petaluma greeted waves of refugees escaping the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.


Jeff Elliott is a veteran journalist having written nationally for magazines and newspapers for over a quarter century. In 1995 he founded the Albion Monitor, the first internet “newspaper” with syndicated news and commentary plus original investigative journalism. He turned to historical research after retiring in 2009, and his writings can be found at, with over 600 articles on local history and architecture. You can follow him on Facebook @OldSantaRosa.


Exhibition Support: Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers has been funded anonymously by a patron of the Petaluma Museum Association and created by its staff and volunteers with generous assistance from the Sonoma County Library; the Bancroft Library, the California Historical Society; and the Society of California Pioneers.

For questions and more information please contact us at 707-778-4398

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22nd Annual Petaluma Poetry Walk

By Richard Benbrook (1948-2017)
In loving Memory.

Readings At The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
20 4th Street (Corner of 4th and B Street)
Sunday, September 17 at 5:00 pm
Readings By:
Sandra Anfang, Katherine Hastings
and Maya R. Khosla

Sandra Anfang is an award-winning Northern California teacher, poet, and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and Hope, West Trestle Review, The Tower Journal, Unbroken Literary Journal, Rattle, and Spillway. Her chapbook Looking Glass Heart was published by Finishing Line Press in early 2016. Sandra is the founder and host of the monthly poetry series, Rivertown Poets, in Petaluma, California, and a California Poet/Teacher in the Schools. To write, for her, is to breathe.

Katherine Hastings is the author of three full-length collections, Cloud Fire; Nighthawks and, most recently, Shakespeare & Stein Walk Into a Bar (Spuyten Duyvil NYC, 2016). Her poems have been published in many anthologies and literary journals, as well as The Book of Forms — A Handbook of Poetics (University Press of New England), Lewis Putnam Turco, Ed. Poet laureate emerita of Sonoma County, CA, Hastings founded the on-going WordTemple Poetry Series in 2006 and has hosted WordTemple on NPR affiliate KRCB FM since 2007. She is editor of Digging Our Poetic Roots — Poems from Sonoma County; What Redwoods Know — Poems from California State Parks and is currently editing Know Me Here — An Anthology of Poetry by Women, to be released in September 2017.

Maya R. Khosla is a wildlife biologist and writer. Her poems have appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, World Literature Today, Poem, and other journals, collected in Keel Bone (Dorothy Brunsman Award), nominated for Pushcart Prizes by World Literature Today, and featured in films including “Village of Dust, City of Water” (2007 Lion Award, Wildlife Asia Film Festival), and “The Turtle Diaries” Support from Patagonia, Audubon, Fund for Wild Nature, and Environment Now assisted her in the production of a film about the Wild After Wildfire -based in the Sierra Nevada. The film includes poetry in the voice-over. Her new poetry manuscript, “Song of the Forest After Fire,” has been accepted by Sixteen Rivers Press.


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Historic Downtown Walking Tours
Through Saturday, Oct. 21
(No Tour Saturday, Oct. 28)

Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.
Meet at the Steps to the Museum
Led by costumed docents
Free – Donations accepted

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Tequila Pairing

Thursday, October 19, 2017
6:00-9:00 PM

The evening begins at 6:00pm in the main hall of the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.


This classic historical site creates a perfect atmosphere for your enjoyment of a professionally guided tasting tour of five different varieties of Tequila, accompanied with notes and anecdotes on both the spirits and related regions and process.


Each selected Tequila will be accompanied by a dish specially prepared by Preferred Sonoma Caterers to complement that spirit. Caterer Amber Balshaw will share with us her process in pairing each dish.


Tickets in advance only, not sold at the door
Tickets are $60 each

Purchase Your Tickets Now!

Or call us at 707.778.4398


Special Thanks to our Sponsors:

Willibees Wines & Spirits
with Preferred Sonoma Caterers
and JRB Event Services

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Contributions of the Petaluma Pioneers: Reflecting On Life In 19th Century Petaluma.

Saturday, October 28 2017,
Two Tours: 10:30 AM and 10:45 AM
(See Below for Ticket Sales)
Donation $15, 12 years of age and under free.
$5 discount for Museum Association members
Cypress Hill Memorial Park
430 Magnolia Avenue
Tour begins at the Cypress Hill office parking lot.

Brainerd Jones, Petalumas renowned architect
Lyman Byce, Petaluma Incubator Company
Captain Baylis, early river captain
Isaac Wickersham, Esq., lawyer and entrepreneur
Addie Atwater, early civic leader
The McNears Clara McNear, Ida Belle McNear
Helen Putnam mayor of Petaluma


Introduction of Brainerd Jones (Brent Russell) at the columbarium and a viewing of the ashes of Lyman Byce (Leif Ortegren), then a short walk to the various gravesites of Captain Tom Baylis (John Fitzgerald), banker Isaac Wickersham (Marshall West), civic leader Addie Atwater (Sherri Ortegren), the McNear circle gravesites and discussed by Clara McNear (Susan Coolidge). Our tour concludes with a visit to the grave of educator William Howard Pepper with questions and answers following.

Donation $15, 12 years of age and under free.
$5 discount for Museum Association members

Purchase Tickets for the 10:30 Tour


 Purchase Tickets for the 10:45 Tour


Or call us at 707.778.4398


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Musical Mondays Fall Series

Classical Anatomy: The Evolution of Form

With Kayleen Asbo, Ph. D.


Petaluma Historical Library and Museum
20 Fourth Street, Petaluma
Mondays, 10:30-12:30


Join Dr. Kayleen Asbo, celebrated music historian for the Santa Rosa Symphony for eight weeks of lecture-performances into the evolution of Classical Music, in a series that will bring to new depth and insight to the upcoming season at Weill Hall.


Session I: The History of the Concerto
October 9 – October 30

October 9: From Baroque Beginnings to Mozart’s Masterpieces
October 16: Beethoven’s Revolution
October 23: The Romantic Virtuoso: Schumann, Grieg, Liszt and Tchaikovsky
October 30: The Contemporary Concerto: From Prokoviev and Ravel to Arvo Part’s Credo


Series I Subscription:  $100   Drop in single classes $30


Session II: The History of the Symphony
November 6 – November 27

November 6: From Concerto Grosso to Haydn and Mozart
November 13: Beethoven’s Revolutions
November 20: Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Rachmaninoff
November 27: The New World: From Dvorak to Leonard Bernstein


Series II Subscription:  $100   Drop in single classes $30


Early Bird Special for all eight classes
Purchase both series by September 1 for only $150! 

Registration Information and to Purchase Tickets please click here

Kayleen Asbo Ph.D. is a lecturer for the Santa Rosa Symphony and the San Francisco Opera. A pianist, composer and cultural historian, she is on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Pacifica Graduate Institute of Santa Barbara and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley, Dominical University and Sonoma State University where her classes have been hailed as “a revelation”, “pure passion” and “an addictive blend of joy and education.”


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Museum Location and Hours

The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum is located at 20 Fourth Street, in downtown Petaluma, CA 94952.  (707) 778-4398

Hours Thursday through Saturday:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Petaluma Historical Museum ~ 20 Fourth Street ~ Petaluma, CA 94952 ~ (707) 778-4398

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