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Archaeological Center opens exhibit on San Diego’s Fort Guijarros



Ad Munoz, who put together the exhibit, talking at the recent reception held when the exhibit opened. He pro­vided background on the exhibit and thanked the people and organi­zations that made the exhibit possible.

Ad Munoz, who put together the exhibit, talking at the recent reception held when the exhibit opened. He pro­vided background on the exhibit and thanked the people and organi­zations that made the exhibit possible.

Recently the San Diego Archaeological Center in the San Pasqual Valley opened an exhibit on San Diego’s Fort Guijarros. The exhibit is entitled: Fort Guijarros: soldiers, Yankee whalers and fisherfolk.

At the August 5 recep­tion Ad Munoz, curator for the exhibit, described how the Fort Guijarros exhibit was in the planning stages for over a year. The origi­nal concept included Fort Guijarros and the Presidio San Diego. Due to the ex­tensive number of artifacts and the limited space and budget, the exhibit was narrowed to the stories be­hind Fort Guijarros.

Munoz said, “The goal of the exhibit was two-fold to tell the story of events that unfolded in this part of Point Loma- Ballast Point and to cre­ate dialogue between the individuals associated with the excavations and the archaeological collection.”

He continued, “It became apparent from the beginning that our challenge in telling

Fort Guijarros picture and gun from the exhibit are shown.

Fort Guijarros picture and gun from the exhibit are shown.

the story would be problem­atic, due to the nature of the years spent excavating various areas on Ballast Point and the numerous artifacts recov­ered, and their very poor preservation.”

Eventually, it became a story that in­volved three interconnected tales: the people excavating the site, the original foundations of the fort, the layers of the whaling period discovered above the fort, and the uppermost layers that held the artifacts that tell the tale of military occupation in this part of San Diego.

People become the focus of the story.

Munoz said, “The artifacts that we chose for each part of the story are meant to specifically reflect an impor­tant function or use by someone dur­ing a specific period or event. The exhibit was also created to bring back the memories of the those associated with recovering the artifacts. People give meaning to events. The artifacts

Entry to the new exhibit on Fort Guijarros.

Entry to the new exhibit on Fort Guijarros.

become the vessel that connects mean­ing, events, and the people.”

He added, “The exhibit was the result of collaboration. First between myself and my team, Cindy Stankowski, Su­sanne Moramarco, Russell Silberberg­er, and Victor Herrera and many Cen­ter volunteers and interns who gave us their time over the last year.

“Also, it became a collaboration be­tween the Navy, San Diego State Uni­versity, and Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation.”

The SDAC has curated the Fort Guijarros archaeological collection, owned by NAVFAC over the last sev­eral years. With permission from Andy Yatsko, chief archaeologist for the De­partment of the Navy, Southwest Divi­sion, the exhibit became a reality.

Munoz also credited Ron May and his role as chief archaeologist during the many years of excavations at Bal­last Point. “Today, Ron’s records and photographs of the excavation are ar­chived at the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation at SDSU,” said Munoz.

Several other

A case of artifacts from the whaling industry. San Diego supported a strong community of whalers in the heyday of that era.

A case of artifacts from the whaling industry. San Diego supported a strong community of whalers in the heyday of that era.

organizations helped make the exhibit a reality. Commu­nity partners included the San Diego Maritime Museum, which loaned sev­eral valuable pieces that helped tell the story of American Whalers at Ballast Point. Artifacts were also acquired on loan from Tom Vilicich of the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteers Associ­ation,

Pete Hoffman, Jim Bryant, Mi­chael Nabholz, Penelope Bledsoe, and Andy Shulkosky. ICF International- San Diego was a sponsor.

Built in 1796, Fort Guijarros was built to guard the entrance to San Di­ego Bay. Occupied by the Spanish, Mexican and eventually United States military, the fort played a key role in the early history of San Diego. The installation was excavated in 1981 to 1995, revealing thousands of artifacts documenting the lives of people who lived there.

Curated by Dr. Ad Muniz, this ex­hibit incorporates history, archaeology, historic documents and artifacts.

San Diego Archaeological Center is located at 16666 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido.


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