All of these event recordings are available free to the public, please visit our online retail shop to pay a donation towards our virtual programming and local history program
Virtual Programs Library
February 17, 2022
A Rumbling of Women Revisited
Four contributors to the 2018 book, A Rumbling of Women: Napa Feminists 1970-1990 discuss their involvement with the book and their experiences with the Women’s Movement at the end of the 20th century.
January 20, 2022
“History of Missouri Wines and Wineries” with Doug Schneider
Offering a broad look at how Napa Valley’s historic industries were shaped by migrants from outside of California. The wine industry in Missouri was started by German immigrants who had never made wine before in their lives. The industry took off: by 1859 there were 50 wineries in the town of Hermann, Missouri, alone. Missouri came to the rescue in 1869, when the French wine industry was being devastated by an invasive louse – Missouri knew how to solve the problem and we saved the French wine industry.
December 9, 2021
Joseph Chiles: Forgotten Trailblazer” with Rick Chiles
He’s the man who knew everyone, and no one knows now. He emerges as a footnote or a passing reference in most of the major works on the western movement to California and his life intertwined with many of the best known pioneers—Kit Carson, John C. Fremont, Mariano Vallejo, and John Bidwell–to cross the plains and get involved in the making of this part of California. Rick Chiles talks about his book, Joseph Chiles: Forgotten Trailblazer.
October 21, 2021
Napa Valley Wine Luminaries
Dane Kuta–Napa Valley Wine expert, sommelier, and instructor–presents a lively journey through the history of wine production in the Napa Valley. As the first speaker in our Wine: Our Story virtual presentation series, this presentation highlights only a few of the early Napa winemakers and entrepreneurs who helped to put a tiny wine-growing region on the map.
September 16, 2021
The Gift of Photography in Capturing History and Personal Experiences
Janna Waldinger discusses the importance of photography to history and how the traditions of photography have both changed and remained the same. Janna is a third-generation photographer and co-owner with Lowell Downey of Art & Clarity fine photography based in Napa since 1994. Fundamentally, powerful photography is created by working with the science of light, composition, and perspective.
june 17, 2021
Repurposing and Reusing California Ships
Sheli O. Smith discusses the history of reusing and recycling ships in early California maritime communities up to the present day. Ships continue to serve the people of California, becoming hotels, restaurants, and even sunken attractions and reefs.
may 15, 2021
George Altamura at the Uptown Theater
George Altamura was our keynote speaker for the 73rd Annual Members Meeting on May 15, 2021. Members and their guests gathered at the historic Uptown Theater in downtown Napa to hear Altamura’s stories about his life in Napa, in conversation with Mayor Scott Sedgley.
April 22, 2021
Angwin and Howell Mountain
Katharine Van Arsdale is the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Pacific Union College in Angwin, CA. Before coming to Napa County, Katharine worked for several years as a research librarian in Washington, DC. Using her MA in History and MSLS in Library Science from the Catholic University of America, Katharine especially enjoys researching local history and bringing it to life.
april 15, 2021
The Presence of the Past
Historic Napa was founded at the advent of photography and thus is well documented visually. For the Spring 2021 exhibit in the Jess Doud Exhibit Hall, the Napa County Historical Society is featuring eighteen select landmarks from across the Valley that represent nine different categories including, Churches & Schools, Homes, Hospitals & Hotels, Resorts & Wineries, and finally Bridges & Businesses. Many of these iconic landmarks have withstood the test of time while others have sadly vanished. Luckily all have been captured by photography and so their memory remains.
February 25, 2021
Lost Napa Valley
Lauren Coodley is the author of three books of Napa history, a textbook of California history and a biography of Upton Sinclair. Beginning her career at Napa’s junior college in the late ’70s, she created and taught “American Women’s History,” “California History,” and “Napa-Vallejo History.” She received the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award and was the elected president of the faculty.
January 8, 2021
The Napa Murder of Anita Fagiani Andrews: a Cold Case that Caught a Serial Killer
Ray Guadagni, a former Napa Judge, will release his newest book on January 18, 2021. With the success of his self-published memoir in 2016, Adventures of the Squeezebox Kid: a memoir of growing up in Napa in the ’50s and early ’60s. The release of his third book by The History Press/Arcadia Publishing will recount and give detail to The Napa Murder of Anita Fagiani Andrews: A Cold Case that Caught a Serial Killer.
December 4, 2020
Alexandria Brown is a queer Black librarian, local historian, writer, and author of two books on local marginalized history: Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and Their Recipes and Hidden History of Napa Valley. She has a BA with honors in Anthropology and Sociology, a Master’s of Library and Information Science, and a Master’s in US History, specializing in Black history in Northern California. She writes about science fiction, fantasy, and horror, including adult and YA fiction, for Tor.com, Locus Magazine, and her blog bookjockeyalex.com. Her work on local marginalized history, librarianship, and diversity work have also appeared on the Lee & Low Blog, Napa Valley Life Magazine, and elsewhere. As a librarian, she has worked in archives, special historical collections, and public, academic, and school libraries, and working with teens is her favorite part of the job. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and access set the foundation of all her work. Alex lives in Southern California with her pet rats and ever-increasing piles of books.
November 7, 2020
Napa Valley’s Jewish Heritage
As the world “rushed in” to profit from California’s gold strike of 1848, many Jews joined the throngs, not necessarily to mine but to sell merchandise to prospectors. Some settled in Napa Valley. These pioneers conducted business, making significant contributions to the development of the Valley. Participating in cultural life, holding public office, and leading organizations, many also made fine wines, something perfected thousands of years ago as commanded in Scripture. They continue to do so. This is their story.
October 9, 2020
Lawmen and Outaws
Todd Shulman has worked in law enforcement his entire adult life; he began as a military police person in the US Army, serving during the First Gulf War. Later Shulman became a police officer in California; he recently retired from the Napa Police Department. He held positions within the police department as a sergeant, detective, training officer, crime scene specialist, corporal, and cold case investigator. Shulman formed the non-profit Napa Police Historical Society in 2006, and continues today as its President. Besides his recently released book, Shulman has written three other books: two about Napa County law enforcement history and one about Napa County historic postcards.
September 18, 2020
Redwood Coast & Napa: How Do They Connect?
Denise Jaffke is a Senior Archaeologist for California State Parks and has worked as professional archaeologist for various federal and state land managing agencies for over 25 years. She manages Parks’ Maritime Heritage Program and serves as Diving Safety Board Advisor and Dive Team Instructor. Denise is one of the founding members of SCHUNRS, a non-profit organization devoted to researching, investigating, and reporting on underwater cultural heritage along California’s coastline.