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

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

Hidden Histories

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, Locus Magazine, and her blog 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.