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Micke Grove exhibits to explore Miwok history, culture

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Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:54 am, Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Did you know that the Miwok Indians inhabited San Joaquin County 3,000 years before Christ was born?

By the summer of 2013, you will be able to learn all about the ancient history of the Native American tribe at the county's History Museum at Micke Grove Park.

It's part of a half-million dollar state grant the museum was awarded last year.

"We have a Native American gallery, but we want to go back in time more," said David Stuart, the museum's executive director.

Not only were the Miwoks in the Lodi-Stockton area some 5,000 years ago, but other native peoples inhabited the area 13,000 years ago, Stuart said. That will be explained in an interpretive panel at the museum entrance that may extend into the Erickson Building lobby.

Before the California missions were established between the 1760s and 1850s, the largest Indian population was centered in and near San Joaquin County because of water from the Delta and rivers like the Mokelumne, Calaveras, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Stanislaus, Stuart said.

However, the state Proposition 84 grant that the museum will receive covers a lot more than information about the Miwoks' ancient history. Plans call for new interpretive messages along the Sunshine Trail, an exterior village exhibit outlining the Yokut Indian tribe's history, a history of the Delta and more panels for the agricultural equipment center at the museum.

Museum officials will begin the planning process with The Sibbett Group of Sausalito, which will plan, design and install the exhibits, Stuart said.

On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors approved an environmental document called a negative declaration. The state requires environmental studies as a condition of accepting the Proposition 84 money. It will cost the county about $2,100 to file the negative declaration, according to Gabe Karam, director of the county General Services Department.

Proposition 84 is a 2006 bond measure that provides $5 billion for water quality projects, including public access to natural resources throughout the state. The museum project at Micke Grove Park was one of 44 projects selected for funding from more than 300 applicants, Stuart said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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