New Traveling Trunk on the Anza Expedition

by Torie Quinonez

Torie Quinonez demonstrating the new Anza trunk at a living history event at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) has a new travelling trunk to offer teachers in the county wishing to incorporate lessons about the first group of colonists to settle Alta California. In partnership with the National Park Service and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the trunk was developed as part of a threefold project to develop materials and awareness of the second expedition, one that doesn’t normally get taught in elementary grades.

The trunk illuminates the story of the Anza expedition in Santa Barbara County, familiarizing students with the mostly unmarked historic “site,” that runs along Santa Barbara’s cherished coastline. Those of us who spent fourth grade in California public schools learned the history of the Spanish in California, getting to know the missions, Father Serra, and the four presidios. Few fourth grade classes, however, learn about the Anza expedition. The colonizing expedition of 1775 and 1776 consisted of more than 240 people, half of them children, who traveled over 1,000 miles from the desert of Northern Mexico to the presidio of Monterey, eventually leaving to found the San Francisco presidio.

Contents of the Anza traveling trunk.

Our traveling trunk introduces the subject to students at the appropriate grade level, with objects and images that bring the expedition to life in the classroom. See an outline to the trunk’s contents and curriculum here. The trunk will be available for educators to borrow from SBTHP’s Education Department and teachers may either present it themselves or request a docent to present the materials to their classroom. Textual materials in Spanish are currently being developed. For more information, or to reserve a traveling trunk, email Meredith Brockriede at meredith@sbthp.org  or call (805) 965-0093.

Torie Quinonez is the former librarian at the Presidio Research Center and the coordinator of SBTHP’s Anza Trail projects.

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