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A Review Of Exploring The California Gold Rush

1078 words - 5 pages

California has long been known as the place to strike it rich or make it big. California has been seen as a place of financial opportunity. This idea started in part by California’s famous Gold Rush. The Gold Rush is perhaps the most commonly known period of California’s unique history. A vast amount of different types of exhibits, lectures, and other forms of public history have been made about the Gold Rush, making finding one that is truly unique difficult. However, through the California State Library’s online exhibit that explores the California Gold Rush, you find an exhibit that is truly unique. The curator of the exhibit is Gary F. Kurutz, Curator of Special Collections. The exhibit begins with an introduction and a thorough explanation of the themes explored in the exhibit as to help guide the viewer through what they are about to see and experience. While the exhibit is rich in primary sources including artwork, letters, maps, and so much more, the exhibit lacks any sort of mention of racial tensions or any sort of serious social and political issues that were occurring during the time of the gold rush.
Exploring the California Gold Rush is an online exhibit available through https://www.library.ca.gov/goldrush/ through the state archives. The exhibit was funded through the California State Library and was free to view online. There is no visible end date for the online exhibit. "Exploring the California Gold Rush" is made up of fifteen parts, including pages for an introduction and credits. The exhibit takes photos and scans of primary documents from the time period to build a timeline of the events and the feelings and emotions of the people during that time. It begins with the discovery of the gold itself, and then goes onto the trek that so many took to get to this promise land of gold. It goes on to show the satirical views of the "gold mania" that was so present at the time, then goes into the lives of the miners themselves. It then takes a more personal and intimate look at the lives of the people affected by the gold rush, such as family members, doctors, shareholders and more. The exhibit has one section completely devoted to the development during the gold rush of one of California's largest and most prolific cities, San Francisco. Construction documents, city directories, photographs, letters, and much more are presented in this section and gives the viewer a view of the creation of one of California's prized cities in a way not normally displayed: through the eyes, ears, and mouths of the San Franciscans themselves.
A reason that this exhibit is particularly fascinating is the sheer number of primary sources, beautifully preserved and presented to the public in a way that makes them easy to read and understand. Each primary source has a short 1-3 sentence caption, giving the reader a brief idea of the larger image they are about to see. Each primary source was clearly organized and presented in an order that created a...

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