By Kathy Chouteau
Did you know Tupac Shakur recorded music at Richmond’s Starlight Recording Studio early in his career? Or how about that Henry J. Kaiser offered healthcare to his workers on the Richmond Home Front during WWII before it was a thing? These revelations and more about Richmond’s history can be seen in a captivating new educational film series recently launched by the Richmond Museum of History and Culture.
Produced by Doug Harris and funded through the Economic and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA) grant between Chevron Richmond and the City, the museum’s five films pack a ton of hyper-local history into a very short timeframe—on average, five minutes each. The films, which include commentary from local historians, include the following topics: Rancho San Pablo, the Spanish Flu in Richmond, the SS Red Oak Victory (WWII in Richmond), the Richmond Black Panthers and Starlight Recording Studio.
“We developed our educational film series as a way to bridge the gap between virtual and in-person museum experiences. We wanted a way for the community to be able to connect with the physical space of the museum from a distance,” said Maya Colbert, museum educator at the Richmond Museum of History and Culture, adding that they “thought that it would be of a particular help to students and younger people who are often visual learners.”
According to Colbert, the film subjects tie-in with multiple areas of California education standards in history and social sciences, and as such, will be utilized by the museum as educational tools in conjunction with its K-12 teachers’ guides. The museum plan to also use the films as supplemental content for its Virtual Field Trip program and its Virtual Drop-In Enrichment program, both of which were also funded via the Chevron Richmond-City of Richmond ECIA grant. Info about the programs can be found here.
“Our target audience includes all students in grades K-12 in Richmond and the surrounding areas; the majority of this area lies within the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), but we do not turn away private schools or those from neighboring districts,” Colbert told the Standard during an earlier interview about the programs.