A Visit to the Haggin Museum

I travel quite often from our home in Chico to our son’s home in Livermore (because that’s where the grandchildren are). Traveling down I-5 we pass through Stockton. I have never had any reason to stop in Stockton, until I found out about the Haggin Museum.


What a gem! Stockton is very lucky to have such a fine museum. And luck has played a significant role in the creation of the Haggin Museum. According to Wikipedia:

The San Joaquin Pioneer and Historical Society wanted to build a history museum, but was unable to raise sufficient funds to do so. Robert McKee offered the group $30,000 in honor of his wife, Eila Haggin McKee, if the museum would be named for her father Louis Terah Haggin and if they added a wing to house his art collection. The museum opened its doors to the public on 14 June 1931, Flag Day.

So Mr. Haggin never lived in Stockton, but his fine collection of 19th century European and American does reside there. It’s an especially good place to see paintings by Albert Bierstadt.


Sunset in Yosemite Valley, by Albert Bierstadt

The museum also has an extensive collection of the works of the American “Golden Age” illustrator, J.C. Leyendecker, which also came to them by luck. Leyendecker never lived in Stockton either, but his sister did, and she left her collection to the museum. If 19th century French art is not your thing, then go to the upstairs gallery to see Saturday Evening Post covers and advertising art for Kellogg’s cereals and Arrow shirts.


J.C. Leyendecker — Is it any wonder that we all eat cereal for breakfast now?


Charles Weber, member of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party and founder of Stockton

And then there is local and California history, farm machinery, boats, old fire engines, a World War II Jeep (one of 275 bought by the students and teachers of Stockton High), and traveling exhibits. Something for everyone!

The museum is easy to get to — close to I-5 on Pershing Ave. Directions and hours are here.  Put it on your list of places to visit soon.

The museum is set in a city park so you can have a picnic or run some energy off the kids. There is also a lovely rose garden.



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A Saturday Evening Post cover by J.C. Leyendecker 

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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2 Responses to A Visit to the Haggin Museum

  1. suzanne stone says:

    Thank you for sharing your discovery of this museum! I will make a point of visiting it on my next trip north. I first heard of Leyendecker and his brother when studying Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsy” in college. https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-perfect-american-male/ I have never seen any of his artwork in person, just in books and online. Will you or Jean be visiting Los Angels? Let me know. Best wishes, Suzanne

  2. nancyleek says:

    Oh, Leyendecker is quintessential Gatsby. We don’t have any plans to visit LA soon. Do you have plans to come to Chico?

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