How did this world-renowned collection come to be located in Stockton?
In 1928, the San Joaquin Pioneer and Historical Society was looking to build a history museum but had been unable to raise enough funds. Stockton native Robert T. McKee offered the group $30,000 on behalf of his wife, Eila Haggin McKee, who had only two requirements: name the museum in honor of her late father, Louis Terah Haggin; and add an art wing to fill with paintings from her father’s collection.
The history galleries focus on the San Joaquin Valley’s past and the accomplishments of its residents, such as Charles Weber, Stockton’s founder; Benjamin Holt, inventor of the Caterpillar track-type tractor; Tillie Lewis, the “Tomato Queen” and the Stephens Bros. Boat Builders.
To house the continually growing collections, the museum has undergone several additions since first opening. The McKee Room was added in 1939; an extensive addition was constructed in 1949; and the Benjamin Holt Wing opened in 1976. Today the museum’s three-story building contains more than 34,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The museum’s permanent art and history exhibits are augmented by a number of temporary exhibitions annually. Special events, such as family programs, lectures, and musical performances, are held throughout the year. Haggin Museum also maintains a Library-Archive, which is available by appointment. The Museum Store features a wonderful array of merchandise especially selected to complement your museum visit.
A trip to Stockton isn’t complete without a visit to the Haggin Museum.
On display in the museum’s fine art galleries are dozens of paintings by renowned 19th- and early 20th-century American and European artists, including
- Jean Béraud
- Rosa Bonheur
- William Bouguereau
- Jean-Léon Gérôme
- George Inness
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Of particular note are breathtaking panoramas of Yosemite Valley (including one once loaned to the White House) by American painter Albert Bierstadt. The Haggin has the largest museum collection of major Bierstadt works.
Haggin Museum also houses the largest museum collection of original art works by “Golden Age” illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.
The museum’s extensive history galleries offer families a chance to travel back in time to learn more about Stockton and California history.
Displays focus on area Native Americans, the Gold Rush, agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley, historic firefighting equipment, as well as shipbuilding and other Stockton industries.
Visitors will see historically-accurate rooms from a Victorian-era San Joaquin Valley ranch home, a recreated local flour mill, and a turn-of-the-last-century California town that includes a one-room schoolhouse and a Chinese herb shop.