1902 PRINTING PRESS GETS TOURISTS' ATTENTION
Through the course of the pandemic, a museum would hardly be top of mind — nor likely open — for most people to want to visit. Somehow, one in Sacramento leaped in nationwide popularity because of social media.
"I still just don't get it," docent Howard Hatch would say in the museum's TikTok videos as he goes to work on a printing press that dates back to 1902. "Maybe it is the power of the press!"
He would then hold up and reveal what he was working on: A paper in the style of a newspaper headline, which would read "SACRAMENTO HISTORY MUSEUM REACHES 86,000 TIKTOK FOLLOWERS."
Of course, the TikTok account has since flourished to a much larger following, roughly over 1 million as of this writing.
Jared Jones, a museum staffer who does the posting for the social media account, said the fandom over the museum, particularly Howard, has led to an increase in visitors.
The timing couldn't be better, too, since Sacramento County moving to a less restrictive tier allows for limited indoor capacity in select businesses, including museums.
The Museum Next Door
The online publicity has helped, which Jones said is big because tourists in Old Sacramento tend to visit the California State Railroad Museum more often.
Despite the underground tours and educational programs, the Sacramento History Museum puts on, Jones said people will usually come inside asking if they're in the Railroad Museum.
"It's certainly just helped raise awareness that we are there," Jones said. "That's the biggest thing."
Jones said people will visit the museum just to see Howard. The demand has gotten to the point where on days where Howard isn't at the museum, a cardboard cutout of him is left out so people can take pictures with it.
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