Museum to get $25K for 'Black History of Yuba-Sutter' project

Jan. 25—The Sutter County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a program agreement with California Humanities for the acceptance of a $25,000 grant that will go toward a new permanent exhibit on Black history at the Sutter County Museum in Yuba City.

In August 2022, the museum submitted a proposal to the Humanities For All grant program that is administered by California Humanities. The museum was seeking $25,000 so that it could create and install a permanent exhibit on Black history in the Yuba-Sutter area, Sutter County Museum Director and Curator Molly Bloom said.

According to a county staff report, the museum will "work with local partners and community members to research the exhibition content, curate an exhibit, and install it at the Sutter County Museum." The grant funding also is expected to help support free public programs and events for the community related to the new exhibit.

In December 2022, the museum was notified that it was awarded the $25,000 for the project. Bloom said on Tuesday that the museum was one of 10 organizations in the state to receive this funding.

"This grant program will provide $25,000 that would otherwise not be available to the county," Bloom said. "The way we wrote the budget sets it so that approximately $10,270 of the grant will directly cover expenses that are currently allocated to the general fund, so there is a beneficial offset to the fiscal year 2022/23 adopted budget. There is no additional impact to the general fund with approval of this action."

According to a letter sent by California Humanities to Bloom and the museum in December 2022, the $25,000 amount will be "matched by an equivalent contribution of non-federal funds and/or in-kind services and materials or any combination thereof."

California Humanities said the approved grant period for the Black History of Yuba-Sutter project will run through Dec. 31, 2024. Awarded grant funds are only applicable during that period.

"We are pleased to inform you that California Humanities has awarded Sutter County Museum a Humanities for All Project Grant for Yuba-Sutter Black History," the letter stated. "We are excited to support you in your efforts to broaden awareness and deepen understanding of issues of relevance for Californians."

According to Bloom, the Humanities For All Project Grant is a competitive grant program that supports locally-developed projects that respond to the needs, interests, and concerns of Californians, provide accessible learning experiences for the public, and promote understanding among the state's diverse population.

"These projects will bring the complexity and diversity of California to light in new ways that will engage Californians from every part of our state, and will help us all understand each other better," Julie Fry, president and CEO of California Humanities, said in a statement. "We congratulate these grantees whose projects will promote understanding and provide insight into a wide range of topics, issues, and experiences."

Bloom said that in collaboration with community partners, the Sutter County Museum will research, develop, design, and install a permanent exhibit about Black history within Yuba and Sutter counties. She and her staff will utilize the research and artifacts uncovered through this project to offer free public programs for students, families, and the general public related to the exhibit and its themes. Gwen Ford, CEO of the community nonprofit Lifting Others Forward Together Institute, will serve as the project's humanities advisor.

"For years the Sutter County Museum has played an integral part in preserving the history of our community and telling the stories of the many cultures that make up our community," Ford said in a statement. "By building the African American Exhibit, the Museum is taking another major step in telling the full story of the Yuba-Sutter people who worked together with other cultures to build our communities to what they are today."

Bloom said Ford and the Sutter County Museum "have been collaborating for years" with researchers to collect local stories from the Black community in Yuba-Sutter, "identify objects for display in the permanent exhibition, and develop community connections that will be assets" in the development of the museum's educational resources.

"African Americans played and continue to play a major role in the growth and success of our area and this nation," Ford said. "However, the story has never been fully told. This exhibit is a huge step in helping African Americans in this area to educate, inspire, and express why we support the growth and development of our community. It will give us an opportunity to show our children how their ancestors played a role in building the place where they live. And above all, it will allow African Americans to show all the collaboration they have displayed in our community for over a century. The African American culture was, and still is, an important culture that is part of the tapestry of cultures that make our community a success. This exhibit will teach just how important that culture is in the tapestry."