Lecture Series


The Museum’s former gallery and lecture space is filled to the brim with new exhibits. Many items have been archived in the warehouse for years. If you have not stopped by lately, be sure to come for a visit! This year the Museum Lecture Series will be held at the Elk’s Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave., downstairs. Parking is available in the back.

2018 Schedule

Admission is free for museum members and $10 for others. No reserved seats. Doors open at 6:30PM and the lecture begins at 7PM. View past lectures.

  • April 26: The 1920 Park Street Fire – Dennis Evanosky & Eric Kos
    Learn about the fire that wreaked havoc on Park Street on January 8, 1920. Eric Kos and Dennis Evanosky, local historians and publishers of The Alameda Sun, will detail many of the aspects of this long-forgotten fire. They’ll discuss the history of the Alameda Fire Department and show how one of the city’s fire houses narrowly escaped the blaze. Find out how a not-so-timely mishap shut off half the water supply to the area the day before the fire. See how wind whipped the flames that devoured shops and homes along Park Street. Learn how the Southern Pacific Railroad stepped up and helped save the fire from spreading further than it did. The railroad played a key role in saving its Park Street station and the home of one of Alameda’s famed pioneers. Sponsor: Evelyn Kennedy, Alain Pinel Realtors, and Alameda Museum Board Member.
  • May 24: The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty – Richard Schwartz
    As the Statue of Liberty stood unlit and unloved by American politicians in 1886, one of her saviors was creating a theatrical sensation at New York’s Fourteenth Street Theatre. Actor M.B. Curtis, who had achieved overnight success in Sam’l of Posen, a groundbreaking play that transcended the common stereotypes of Jewish characters current at the time, was basking in public accolades at every curtain call when he came to Lady Liberty’s aid. Curtis’s rise to the top of his profession and his resulting fall from grace is a dramatic arc that rivals anything created for the stage. Richard Schwartz is a historian and the author. He lives in Berkeley where he works as a building contractor and documents early Native American sites in the Bay Area. The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty is his fifth book and was recently selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library to be included in their collection.
  • June 28: Carnegie Libraries in Alameda County – Annalee Allen & Gene Anderson
    The lecture will highlight the importance of these places from an historical standpoint and different ways they are continuing to be used. One of 19th-century industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s many philanthropies, these libraries entertained and educated millions. Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie’s donations of more than $40 million paid for 1,679 new library buildings in communities large and small across America. Sponsor: Liz Rush, Realtor, McGuire Real Estate.
  • July 26: Dirk van Erp , the Great San Francisco Coppersmith – Gus Bostrom
    Gus Bostrom of California Historical Design in Alameda will talk about the work of van Erp. The Dutch American artisan, coppersmith and metalsmith, was best known for lamps made of copper with mica shades, and also for copper vases, bowls and candlesticks. He was a prominent participant in the Arts and Crafts Movement and active in Oakland and San Francisco. In 2014 Gus Bostrom acquired Dirk van Erp’s original tools with a promise to never sell them. He started the Dirk van Erp Foundation, a California nonprofit, to protect van Erp’s tools. After starting this venture in Berkeley, he recently moved both his gallery and The Dirk van Erp Workshop Museum to Alameda in 2016. The Museum is adjacent to the store recreating van Erp’s workshop using his original tools.
  • August 23: Fernside: The Story of a Neighborhood – Woody Minor
    A sequel to last year’s and a tie-in to this year’s Woody Walk, the August lecture will cover the history and architecture of Alameda’s foremost residential tract of the early 20th century. Beginning with an overview of Fernside’s origin as the private estate of railroad magnate A. A. Cohen, we will see how his heirs worked with an Oakland bank to develop the estate as the city’s largest single subdivision. The tract’s rich architectural legacy, from Tudor to Spanish to Ranch, will be amply illustrated with a focus on notable architects and builders, highlighting residential design in the aftermath of the bungalow. Sponsor: Peter Fletcher, Broker, Windermere Real Estate.
  • September 27: In Memory of Alameda: Archives, Public Space, and the Narratives of Alameda, California – Rasheed Shabazz
    Alameda resident and writer Rasheed Shabazz will discuss how Alameda is remembered in a discussion of the city’s archives, monuments, and written histories. Sponsor: Evelyn Kennedy, Alain Pinel Realtors, and Alameda Museum Board Member.