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Explore history during free museum weekend this summer

18 different locales open their doors at no charge
By: Alex Mecredy Journal correspondent
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Take a ride on the Heritage trail this August and explore 18 local museums for free. The Placer County Museums tour will have its fifth annual free museum weekend on Aug. 11 and 12. Museums located in areas from Roseville to Tahoe will open their doors for free admission. In addition there will be special events that each stop will host that goes along with the theme of the museum. ?The cool thing is each museum has special activities going on that they don?t normally have,? museum program manager Ralph Gibson said. Guests can pan for gold at the Gold Country Museum in Auburn, churn butter at the Watson Cabin in Tahoe City, learn how to grind acorns at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site in Roseville and much more. According to Kasia Woroniecka, curator of collections for Placer County museums, this year there will be a new exhibit and a few new displays out. The new exhibit called ?What Killed the American Hat? features a collection of hats from the 1940s to the 1960s. ?We want to think about why it is that people used to wear hats and now that?s gone except for special occasions,? Woroniecka said. Another feature the Heritage Trail has to offer is a re-enactment of Alma Bell, a woman incarcerated after murdering her boyfriend. ?Her boyfriend agreed to marry her when he thought she was pregnant. After finding out she wasn?t he broke it off. She shot him right through the heart and was acquitted on reason of temporary insanity,? Gibson explained. Guests can visit Alma Bell at the historic courthouse in Auburn attached to the Placer County Museum. When walking by her, she will tell her story. A tour bus is available that will be traveling to eight museums total throughout the weekend. The cost is $10 per seat, per day. Both days the bus will leave from Gold Country Fairgrounds and visit four museums per day. Trail guides, with the description and activities at each museum, are available online or at each museum. In addition to the trail guides, the bus schedule is also available for review. The Heritage Trail is open to all and many of the activities are geared toward families and children. ?There are lot of families and kids that come. I?ve talked to people who have come as far as the Bay Area and people who are return visitors,? Woroniecka said. ---------- Heritage Trail Call: (530) 889-6500 Website: www.placer.ca.gov/museums ----------