Valley of the World Agricultural wing
Described in the brochure as "an interpretive, interactive, and audiovisual exploration of contemporary agriculture and its historical roots," this museum within a museum is, well, uh... let me put it this way... it's as good as it sounds! Meaning if you're the kind of person who really gets a kick out of the history of agriculture, you'll have a ball!
But, seriously, this wing of the Steinbeck Center does a commendable job with what is actually a pretty boring subject. They do have some interesting and even funny exhibits (like the one in the picture, where a bunch of vegetables give stump speeches for your vote as "favorite vegetable," and even veggies are not immune to negative campaign ads!). This exhibit is included in the admission to the Steinbeck Center. I don't think you can go in separately and I can't imagine why you'd want to.
National Steinbeck Center
The National Steinbeck Center does a great job at painting an engaging and thorough picture of "Steinbeck Country" - California's Salinas Valley. Through diaramas, video exhibits, and extensive use of quotes from his works, the Center really gives the visitor a feel for the influences that shaped Steinbeck's writing, and for life in this fertile region.
As with any museum devoted to a single author's works, familiarity with Steinbeck's books will make the Center much more interesting. The Center focuses more on his works specifically dealing with farming and agriculture in the Salinas Valley (i.e. Grapes of Wrath, Tortilla Flat, etc.), but all of his works are represented at least a little. There's a pretty cool exhibit on life in Monterey during the time "Cannery Row" was written, lots of stuff about "East of Eden" and its star, James Dean (the site where Dean was killed in a car accident is not too far from here), and a good retrospective of his second career as a war journalist.
For die-hard Steinbeck fans, though, one of the highlights is "Rocinante," the pickup/camper in which Steinbeck and his dog toured America in the book "Travels with Charley." It's the real McCoy, too, and looks pretty plush for its time!
The Oldest High School in Salinas
Salinas High School; was built origally around 1900, but has been remodeled sence than, BUT the one thing that hasn't changed is the schools tower in the front of the school, which has a cloak on it.... If you've been to Union Station in Los Angeles, Ca. theres a tower there also that kinda has the same square size! I visited it Dec. 30th, 2004.
- Historical Travel
- Study Abroad
The National Steinbeck Center
Fans of author John Steinbeck are in for a real treat. Right in the heart of Steinbeck country, one can learn all about the author's childhood, family, and community. The vignettes throughout the museum provide background on Steinbeck's most popular books, including snippets of films that were based on his books. They have a very nice gift shop and a museum featuring various artists and/or exhibitions.
- Museum Visits
Among those restored homes is the elegant mansion of Steinbeck himself, now converted into a restaurant and gift shop. The website provides a menu with prices and calendar of events and tea parties.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
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