Tulare museum holds first major event since COVID closure

Tulare Historical Museum celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with live music, art display, dancers, and a vintage car show

TULARE – It seems odd that museums have been closed during one of the most significant challenges in the history of mankind. The Tulare Historical Museum is hoping to change that this month as it reopens today, Sept. 15, with its largest event since closing down in the spring of 2020.

A new exhibit honoring Hispanic Heritage Month will run now through Oct. 15 and will culminate with a special event on Saturday, Sept. 25 featuring live music from Rosalinda Verde Alexander, a display honoring Olympian Richard Torrez, Jr., an art exhibition, outdoor food, folkloric dancers and a vintage car show. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. with musical acts from 12 to 2 p.m. and folkloric dancers from 2 to 4 p.m.

Rosalinda Verde Alexander is the talented performer whose day job is as performing arts department head at The Creative Center, a community arts center for adults with developmental disabilities. Verde Alexander was the founder of the Visalia Opera Company, wrote an original mariachi opera, performs locally with bands such as People In the Moment as well as the Sequoia Symphony.

The display, Richard Torrez Jr.: Upholding a Tulare Family Legacy, will also be on view from Sept. 16 to Oct. 23, in THM’s Depot Gallery. The Tulare native known as “Kiki” trained at his father’s boxing gym in town and fought his way onto Team USA for the 2020 Olympics. He won his first fight via unanimous decision and earned a spot in the gold medal match after a TKO in the semifinal round. The gold medal round was a rematch with Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, who sent Kiki to the hospital in 2019. The brutal knockout almost ended Torrez’s career, but he bounced back to go the distance with the 6-foot-7 giant, falling one round short of a gold,  and taking home the silver medal. 

Kiki joins Bob Mathias and Sam Iness as the only Tulare natives to earn an Olympic medal. He is also the first American in his weight class to reach the gold medal match since 1988. As captain of Team USA boxing, Torrez Jr. played a significant role in the team’s best finish since 2000 as two other men claimed silver medals including Duke Ragan as a featherweight and Keyshawn Davis as a lightweight. Oshae Jones also won bronze in the women’s welterweight tournament.

Last month, the city of Tulare named Aug. 21 as Richard Torrez, Jr. Day, announced a mural would be painted in his honor and the Tulare Joint Union High School District is discussing the possibility of naming a facility after him at his alma mater, Mission Oak High School. 

The art exhibition, Embracing Identity: Celebrating Hispanic Culture in the Arts, will be on display in the Heritage Art Gallery from Sept. 16 to Oct. 23, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.

The Tulare Historical Museum is located at 444 W. Tulare Ave. in Tulare. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 12:30 to 4 p.m. every third Sunday from September through May. Everything is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the website at www.tularehistoricalmuseum.org, call 559-686-2074 or follow them on social media.

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