“hear the story that no one else could tell”
In May of 1977, Soroptimist International of Chico was seeking a project to celebrate their upcoming 50th anniversary (the chapter was founded in 1930). Member Hester Patrick proposed that the recently vacated Carnegie Library building be preserved and re-used as a museum for the City of Chico. The proposal was accepted and a Library Disposition Committee was formed, comprised of members from the Soroptimists, representatives from the Chico City Council, City Staff, and representatives from the Departments of History and of Anthropology at Chico State University. In 1978, a report was presented to the City Council, indicating that the building would be suitable as a museum and that the location was highly desirable from the standpoint of other historic sites, mainly the Bidwell Mansion and the Stansbury House. The location was also good for ensuring ongoing support by University members. In 1979, an engineering study was undertaken by Chico architect, Gene McFarren, with the financial support of the Soroptimists. The study revealed that the building was structurally sound and that conversion to a museum was feasible. Initially, the intent was to design a museum for the permanent exhibit of an array of artifacts.Remodeling was completed on January 8, 1986. The Chico Museum was officially opened to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony, conducted by the Chico Chamber of Commerce, on February 22, 1986.
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