“Up From Below: Dolls, Pipes and Bottles” will showcase items discovered in the Kelley House Pond. There also will be artifacts relevant to our local history that have been recovered from nearby sites, including Little River and Caspar.

We could speculate about the doll torsos and which of Mendocino’s children might have lost or tossed their dollies into the pond. Did the Kelley Pond serve as a dump site, much as the ocean did for towns up and down the Coast? The inorganic, durable materials have stories to tell. They make more tangible the stories told by photographs, letters, ledgers and the like.

The most exciting possibilities occur when archaeology and history are used to support each other. It is one thing to read about a soda bottling company in Mendocino, or to see its location on a map, or its building in a photograph. To be able to see one of its surviving bottles is quite another experience. The Mendocino Coast is fortunate in that there is such rich and abundant evidence of its past, in terms of documents and stories as well as buildings and artifacts.

The exhibit opens on Friday, May 4 and runs through Monday, June 18. Admission is by suggested donation of $5. Museum hours are Friday through Monday, 11:00 AM-3:00PM.