Haggin Museum Showing Off Renovations with Free Admission on Saturday

STOCKTON -- For over 85 years, the Haggin Museum in Stockton has enabled many to see the best of San Joaquin County and the world.

As San Joaquin County’s only art and history museum, the Haggin Museum houses a great deal of history.

"We are extremely proud of our collections, especially the art collection," Haggin CEO and history curator Tod Ruhstaller said. "Many people are somewhat surprised when they visit a museum in Stockton and come in to find a world-caliber art collection."

That art collection has traveled the world as well. At least one piece was displayed at the White House. And with recent multimillion-dollar renovations, the history of the art is at your fingertips with new monitors.

"Our new tagline for these galleries is, 'See art in a new light,' because in addition to new wall treatments and floor treatments, we have new LED lighting in the gallery. It makes our paintings pop," Ruhstaller said.

Ruhstaller has been with the museum for nearly 34 years and says the history portion of the museum portrays the best of Stockton’s past.

"When you speak of all over the world, Stockton’s businesses and industries have had a global impact," Ruhstaller said. "With the Port of Stockton, the invention of the Caterpillar tractor, the perfection of the combine harvester. So again a tremendous source of pride for us with our collections.

The J.C. Leyendecker collection is exclusive to the Haggin Museum and boasts many of best creations from the man who was Norman Rockwell’s mentor.

"He’s probably the most popular, the most successful commercial artist of the first four decades of the 20th century," Ruhstaller said.

Regardless of art tastes, the museum offers free admission on the first Saturday of every month. Ruhstaller hopes the weekend's stormy weather will bring people in.

"It will be dark and gloomy outside but it will be bright and cheery inside the Haggin Museum," he said.

The museum hopes to provide a place for the entire family to see the world, one painting at a time.

"Free Saturdays is a perfect opportunity to bring people in, in many cases for the first time," Ruhstaller told FOX40. "And then the expectation, the hope, is that these people will become regular visitors to the museum."