Published on February 22, 2018
The new DeWitt History Museum in North Auburn is preparing to celebrate its grand opening Feb. 27, 74 years to the day since the DeWitt campus opened as a military hospital during World War II. This new addition to the Placer County Museums family will focus on the important role the DeWitt property has played in the history of the area.
Inside the museum, visitors will find photographs and artifacts that help tell the stories of the different uses of the property during different eras. Exhibits highlight its use by the federal government as a hospital during World War II, its subsequent purchase by the Department of Mental Hygiene as a state psychiatric hospital and its most current use as the Placer County Government Center.
The campus was initially named “DeWitt” after Calvin DeWitt, an Army officer who later served as a surgeon during the Civil War. First opened on Feb. 27, 1944, the hospital mainly treated service members with vascular injuries sustained in various theatres of war from around the world.
The grand opening event will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. and docent-led van tours of the campus between 4:15 and 5 p.m. Docents donned in 1940s attire will serve cookies similar to the ration cookies supplied to our service members during World War II as part of the reception spread. And a short presentation will be given by Museums Administrator Ralph Gibson and District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery at 5:15 p.m.
The DeWitt History Museum will be open and free to the public on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. It is located at 2985 Richardson Drive in North Auburn. Museum staff hope to extend operating hours in the near future as more docents are recruited.
Those who have memories, photographs or artifacts that would help Placer County tell the DeWitt story, or who would like to become a docent at the new museum, are encouraged to contact the museum office at 530-889-6500.
Visit the Placer County Museums website for more information.