Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum at San Lorenzo Park in King City. (Contributed Photo)

KING CITY — Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum will host its latest pop-up program, a classic car exhibit and barbecue, at San Lorenzo Park in King City on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Vehicles on display will be from the MCARLM classic car collection, with the museum interns providing presentations. The exhibit, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is effectively a replacement for the 12th annual Holiday Open House.

The museum itself has been closed since March 17, as state health guidelines do not allow for indoor galleries or exhibits. The museum staff has since hosted pop-up programs, distributed activity bags to area youth, and has organized a documentary project for the interns.

“We are anxious to be able to do so again and have fully prepared the museum for social distancing visitation for when we are allowed to open up again,” said Jessica Potts, executive director for MCARLM. “In the meanwhile, outdoor exhibits are allowed within the tier regulations, which is why we have been holding periodic outdoor pop-up exhibits, while the weather allows. This will be the last one this year, and probably for a couple of months, determined by the weather.”

Five classic cars will be placed outside the museum in a distanced display.

“Each of the interns has taken a car and is currently researching and creating an exhibit board and a presentation to give about the car they are representing,” Potts said. “Luckily, we have acres of park to work with, so we will be able to display our collection and provide ample distance for visitors to remain safely in their own social group, enjoy a barbecue lunch, explore the collection, and enjoy a bit of fresh air.”

Normally, the classic vehicles are stored inside the museum for preservation and protection. The pop-up will be an opportunity to see them in person while the museum floor remains closed to the public.

The newest acquisition in the collection is a remodeled Model A, which will join a Kissel Truck that turns 100 this year, a Model T, Lincoln and Republic truck.

“The cars will be open to look, hands-free, inside, and with each intern spending time putting together a presentation on each of the vehicles, the presentations will be more in depth than typically given during a full museum tour,” Potts said.

A maximum of 100 guests will be allowed throughout the day during the pop-up, with seating limited to 30 at a time with distancing in place. Each group of guests will be limited to six people maximum.

Social distancing and masks will be required at all times, with an exception on masks during lunch. Picnic tables will be spaced around the park grounds at a distance of 20 feet apart. To increase safety in the offerings, meals will be available for take-out.

The year’s final pop-up is the third the museum has hosted.

“They have served as a great opportunity for people and their social groups to safely spend a bit of time outdoors,” Potts said. “Each of the exhibits has been unique and provided a fun, learning opportunity. Each time the presentations and artifacts have been no-touch and presented with a great amount of safe distancing. Groups arrive together and stay within their own group. Being outdoors provides a safe social opportunity in which friends can see each other and connect while remaining more than 6 feet apart from one another.”


In addition to hosting the presentations, MCARLM interns are working on an ongoing oral histories project, collecting information and collecting interviews about the Covid-19 experience from a youth perspective. Health restrictions have slowed the process, but intern work on the project continues.

“We have over a dozen interviews and are still eager to collect more,” Potts said. “The variety of perspectives from area youth and what they have experienced has been very interesting and insightful. These stories will be impactful as we work through and move away from this poignant time in history.”

Footage is currently being edited and compiled with a focus on the Class of 2020, and preview teasers are in the works. Potts noted the final project might be finished by mid-2021, for what they hope to be a public in-person presentation.

Meanwhile, people of all ages have been invited to be part of the project, where they only have to talk and tell their story.

The other Covid-era MCARLM project finishing off the year is the distribution of activity bags. The museum offered 100 bags free to the public, which has been met. After that, they charged a nominal fee for activity bags.

“A big part of our mission is to provide educational opportunities to the area,” Potts said. “Our big focus in this time of re-imagination is on outreach.”

One side-effect of the pandemic is an injured economy, which the museum is not immune to.

“Unfortunately, as economic times continue to be a struggle for foundations and nonprofits, our abilities are limited,” Potts said. “The goal behind this pop-up exhibit and barbecue fundraiser is to raise funds to offset the cost of the holiday craft packs. The more tickets we sell, the more bundles we provide.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.