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May 31, 2011 > Exploring the Great Outdoors

Exploring the Great Outdoors

Submitted By Heather Mellon

The Hayward Area Historical Society presents a new traveling exhibition, "Past Tents: The Way We Camped," at its interim gallery; a humorous excursion through one of our favorite western pastimes-camping. Using rare historic photographs from the collections of the California Historical Society and the Bancroft Library, the exhibition explores camping in California from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Additional photos from the Historical Society's archives show Hayward area residents enjoying their share of camping adventures.

Historic photos are organized into three themes-Round the Campground, Hitting the Trail, and Open Roads, Open Fires. Each theme presents wonderful photos illustrating the places people chose to camp, the equipment they took with them, the vehicle they used to get there, and how they set up. There are even some old-school camping tips for everything from helping sore feet after a long hike to finding a good trail.

Early camping was an experience in independence, simplicity, and good cheer. It offered a change of pace and an opportunity to be close to nature while escaping the trappings of society for a time. Camping still offers this escape, and Past Tents encourages visitors to pack up the tent and sleeping bags and enjoy the beauty of California's natural environment. As one museumgoer said, "The exhibition brought back to me memories of all those fun camping trips with my family as a kid. It made me want to go pack my tent now!"

The exhibit opens June 2 with a special reception that evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. featuring Frank Helling portraying "John Muir." Helling has been doing his living history interpretation of John Muir since 1981, performing throughout California and the U.S. He is currently a ranger/naturalist in Kings Canyon National Park.

Exploring the Great Outdoors
June 2 - August 26
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 2
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Hayward Area Historical Society Gallery
22392 Foothill Boulevard, Hayward
(510) 581-0223

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