Expedition 21: History and Nature

December 20, 2023. First stop: Preservation Park. I forgot that five of the houses were originally here and the others were brought later and laid out like a neighborhood. I was there around lunch time and it was pretty deserted. In the cafe, the owner told me he’s only open for lunch now, not breakfast, because so many people are working from home. Too bad! Such a pretty place to work! 

Around the corner I visited the African American Museum and Library, which is housed in the former Oakland Main Library building, the first Carnegie library in Oakland (Carnegie libraries are a possible future expedition!). The inside is beautiful, also cozy and welcoming, with a double staircase swooping to the second floor. Two original murals remain.

The exhibits describe black history in Oakland in a sort of haphazard way. Since this is part of the Oakland library, my impression is that librarians gathered photos and clippings from the Oakland history room and created exhibits (well, more like snippets) around them rather than actually curating. 

I appreciate good curating; it pains me to read tidbits of information with no context or background or sense of chronology. And one panel is in a different font from the others! Gadzooks! Still, the museum is worth visiting and it’s free. They have a reference library on the first floor and a seed library. Anyone remember listening to soul and funk on KDIA radio?

My next stop was the Tilden Nature Area Environmental Education Center. I was surprised to realize I’ve never been inside. Researching it online showed me photos of the outside of it and the Little Farm next door. Turns out, it’s pretty cool! My favorite part was the rocky canyon passage mimicking the Wildcat Creek Watershed that takes you down to the lower level and shows the plants and animals that live there. Very nice curation here, experiential and informative.

Of course, I had to stop at the Little Farm too. There are more animals there than when I visited a few years ago. Unfortunately, the pigs were asleep. 🙂 But I saw lots of muddy sheep, plus cows, ducks and chickens. 

I remembered that the wooden boardwalk parallel to Wildcat Creek was nearby so I detoured there. It’s so charming how it winds back and forth across the marsh. You can hear the creek clearly at this time of year too. The detour extended my expedition longer than planned but I was rewarded with an incredible sunset! 

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