The Big Reveal: Castro Valley Pop-Up Museum

We had to move up our reveal date due to leaks. Oh well, two less days of suspense, two more days of excitement.


When someone asks me what is CVLegends, I have trouble describing it, not because CVLegends itself is difficult to explain, the kernel of CVL is and always has been Castro Valley history. I get tangled in my enthusiasm and earnestness and I start to feel like I’m bragging.

I have gotten over that stumbling block with the realization that I’m not bragging about myself, I’m bragging about you guys, all the people that make CVLegends vibrant.

By contributing your memories, sharing your stories, liking the links, heck, even those of you that never participate, just lurk around like creepers- you have all made CVLegends rad, and I am able to brag on you.

That being said, you may want to lean away from your computer because I feel a bragging tsunami coming on, and like the first few rows at Marine World, you my friend are in the splash zone.

Without further ado, the big reveal: on Saturday, September 29th, from 11:00- 6:00, CVLegends in conjunction with the Hayward Area Historical Society is proud to present, The Castro Valley Pop-Up Museum

The pop-up concept is simple, it has been used primarily for restaurants and retail.

We are one of the first groups to take the pop-up idea and apply it to a museum. Basically it’s a short term venture in a nontraditional space, advertising is viral through word of mouth (that’s you, tell a friend), the event happens, people love it, and then it’s gone.

A pop-up could play out as a restaurant opening in someone’s living room or a clothing sale in a warehouse. There was only one location I ever really pictured our pop-up, The Castro Village, it is iconic CV, and thanks to the support of Crosspoint Realty Services, our museum will be opening in the space that used to house Jordans Village Books.

Did I mention this event is free?

The pop-up idea slowly developed in the back of my brain, an organic computer virus, running silently, collecting data. I had been purchasing CV knick knacks on eBay, eventually folks started dropping off historical items on my porch. They knew these items would find a good home, like dropping a bag of kittens on the veterinarians porch.

Then one day the pop-up concept jumped (popped) forth from my skull, fully formed, grey eyed, and dressed in armor.

I have tried, with some success, to organize other Castro Valley events. I am at least partially to blame for the Castro Valley Crawl every October. And I consider CVLegends an unmitigated success.

However, bar crawls and Facebook groups are guerilla actions, a museum is something else, and as pleased as I was with the idea of throwing some old newspapers and a yearbook in my truck and pulling over on Castro Valley Boulevard so folks could leaf through them, I knew that if this was going to be done right I would need to partner with real adults who knew how to do things the right way.

Trying to partner with adults I contacted someone who was barely in elementary school when I graduated high school. I met Heather Mellon via Patch, I had never spoken with her in real life; probably not the best person to propose a project to that would take months and money and headaches. But, I got lucky, Heather is the type of person that never learned how to say no; evidenced by her work with SOSCV, Chamber of Commerce, Castro Valley Cash Mob, and her recent engagement. She graciously agreed to help.

Heather connected me with Diane Curry (be careful you don’t trip over all the names I’m dropping) at the Hayward Area Historical Society emphasis on the word Area, they totally cover Castro Valley history. Did you ever go over to a friend’s house and get silently jealous because they had ALL the toys? That is what going to the HAHS is like for me. Diane took time from the insignificant projects going on at the historical society, you know insignificant like packing up the entire collection and moving the museum to it’s brand new and improved home. No big deal, she had plenty of time to help a weirdo with a Facebook group create a museum.

It was like a fancy French bank heist film, we had a crew, all CVHS graduates by the way, each with a speciality, and by speciality I mean I waved the pom-pom’s while Heather and Diane did all the work. Of course, I’m leaving out other names, primarily because I would get them wrong if I tried to get them right. But a bunch of people put in a  bunch of time and effort to bring this to fruition, now all we need are you citizens of Castro Valley to come out.

What exactly should you expect when you come out? Well, I wanted to include a full scale replica of the stage at Mugg’s, complete with gyrating dancers. That is not going to be there. We will have historic exhibits, you know museumy stuff, but we are incorporating the interactivity of CVLegends into each display. There will be activities for kids, lectures (you may get a chance to watch me mumble incoherantly), CV landscape photography, and more. 

Something I’m really excited about is HAHS is bringing out a scanning station. Basically that means you can bring any of your old Castro Valley photos- snapshots of your birthday party at the community center, class pictures, rally photos, hillsides before they had houses, whatever. HAHS will scan these photos and the images will become a permanent part of their archives. In fifty years when some knucklehead thinks a stunt like this is a good idea, your photos will be part of the historical record. That is rad.

So it slices, it dices, it minces, it chops, but wait there’s more- but I can’t tell you about it yet, I’m sworn to secrecy. Rest assured, more details will emerge over the coming week via CVLegends, The Hayward Area Historical Society, Castro Valley Patch, and maybe even The Castro Valley Rotary Club. One tiny clue: I don’t know if you have seen any Deloreans cruising the Boulevard, or if you have been standing on toilets hanging clocks, but you can expect a time traveler.

Yeah, I said time traveller.

This is for you Castro Valley, and it’s totally free, all I’m asking is that you come out and enjoy the museum. (And if you don’t mind: liking, sharing, posting about, linking to, and telling folks about this would really help make this a success.) I look forward to seeing you next Saturday. Thank you and good day.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kelly Gabel September 20, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Sounds fun, I'll be coming and maybe bring some old family photos. My family has been here a looooong time.
David Ashton September 21, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Makes sense, what are you going to find at a Renn Fair, cat ladies in corsets and maybe a turkey leg.
David Ashton September 21, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Hope to see you Kelly, it's not like you have anything else going on that day... like a reunion to run.
Janelle Graves September 24, 2012 at 03:07 PM
David, where were you when I was working at the CA Historical Society? You totally rock! Wish I were near so that I could come too. I am beyond impressed, and a bit green that I didn't come up with this myself! You are like the Croc inventor of the Museum world! Your pop up museum is going to be a great success. I'd love it if you could post a follow up!
David Ashton September 29, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Thank you so much Janelle, here is the speech from the opening preview night-http://castrovalley.patch.com/blog_posts/pop-up-speech We had over a 100 people in the 3 hours the preview was open and that was invite only, so we are hopeful today is successful. There will be photographs and more information, probably the best place to find them will be on www.facebook.com/cvlegends Thanks you and good day.


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