A Re'collection' of Napa's History

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Ensuring that we are not going to forget it, the Memory Bank returns again with a subsequent project, Memory Bank II, which will also run as an exhibition that will be displayed from Saturday, August 11 through Sunday, September 23 at the Napa Valley Museum. This community preservation project is an annual intensive endeavor by Preservation Napa Valley, a grass roots non-profit organization that seeks to proudly celebrate and raise awareness for the cultural heritage of Napa County.

Six professional photographers, including Jess Knubis and Suzanne Becker Bronk, and one filmmaker collaborated to capture the people and places of Napa. The photographs are reminiscent of Dorthea Lange’s work (“Migrant Mother,” shot during the Great Depression, is the photograph that we know best from her), just as beautiful, powerful, and captivating. The four short documentaries transport its audience to incredible locations during interviews of those that lived and worked in a Napa very different from today’s, offering viewers an inside scoop of Napa’s rich history.

Additionally during the time of exhibition, behind the scene talks, gathering, and events compliment Memory Bank II, including panels of those that worked on the project, the Memory Bank “Old Timers” that had been interviewed, and of the photographers that contributed.

The board members of Preservation Napa Valley are currently raising money to fund turning Memory Book II as a book and DVD, which will be available for a limited time. “Memory Bank is not pursuing nostalgia but asking us to see, feel and understand how this Valley came to be, to the place it is now...to get beneath the golden shimmer into a long and fascinating heritage,” states Wendy Ward, director of the organization in their funding campaign site. “If we understand the past, we are richer for it and may perhaps see today and the future clearer.”

Memory Book II aims to capture the “true Napa, one reflective of all peoples” and this year, is focusing on the diverse cultures (among them, Chinese Japanese, Mexican, and European) that have come to Napa and shaped its evolution across generations. And while the photographs are in black and white, the images they hold will not be fading for long.

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