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Feature Article
Folsom History Museum tests Gold Rush knowledge
By Cathy Locke

Published: Saturday, Jan. 03, 2009 | Page 2B

Students who dredge for nuggets of information about their community's past could hit pay dirt in the Folsom History Museum's annual online History Bee.

Jody Hornor, marketing manager for the project, said the History Bee, in its fifth year, focuses on the history of Folsom, Sacramento and nearby communities that were at heart of the California Gold Rush. The event complements school curriculum, particularly for third- through fifth-graders.

Kids in kindergarten through 12th grade may go online at between now and Feb. 28 to take four History Bee quizzes. Winners will be announced in April.

Hornor said adults are invited to test their knowledge, too, although they aren't eligible for prizes.
"We get a few adults – not as many as I might have thought," Hornor said. "And they don't score as well as the kids do."

Questions are based on two local history books: "The Golden Corridor" and "The Golden Hub, Sacramento," published by Hornor, a Pilot Hill resident, and her husband, Ric. Both books are available at the museum gift shop, area bookstores and online at

This year's topics include European explorers who visited the area, the history of Sacramento and Folsom, the discovery of gold, public buildings and railroads.

The History Bee is one of several educational programs offered by the history museum in Folsom's historic district.

Traveling programs take history to schools in Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks, Gold River and El Dorado Hills.

Melissa Pedroza, educational program coordinator, portrays Isadora Pico Forrester in "Mission Moments," telling of the Spanish colonization of California through the mission system. Another living history program, "Trails & Tales," features stories told in the character of Nancy Kelsey, the first American woman to enter California by an overland route.

The museum houses a permanent exhibit on Folsom's history, but also features temporary displays highlighting specific aspects of the community. A popular exhibit with children this past year, Pedroza said, was "Whimsical Toons," paintings of historic Folsom houses by Sutter Creek artist Loretta Armstrong.

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