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Museum on Main dedicates Sandi Thorne Research Center

New space honors memory of former board member, mayor's wife

Downtown Pleasanton's Museum on Main commemorated its new research center in honor of one of its most devoted supporters, Sandra "Sandi" Thorne.

Sandi Thorne, former member of the museum's Board of Directors and the wife of Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne, died unexpectedly from complications during cancer treatment on Aug. 3.

As a leader for the museum, one of her favorite activities was researching upcoming exhibits. After her death, museum officials thought it would be fitting to dedicate a new research center at their facility in her honor. The new Sandi Thorne Research Center was unveiled at a ceremony in the Main Street museum last week.

"Sandi loved the museum and felt that the preservation of our community's history is a very important mission," Mayor Jerry Thorne told the Weekly.

"She would have been deeply honored by the dedication of the museum's Research Center in her memory," he added. "My family and I are deeply honored as well, and we would like to thank all of those who donated to the museum in her memory and made this facility possible."

Museum executive director Jim DeMersman lauded Sandi Thorne's commitment to the museum, saying, "Since starting as a volunteer in 2004, Sandi gave the museum her time, her sweat, her ideas and her heart. She helped inventory collections, install exhibits, plan fundraisers and govern the museum as a board member and officer."

Her penchant for research would often take her to the microfilm newspaper collection at the Livermore Library, where the older reader-printers were prone to a variety of frustrating issues, DeMersman said. Recently the Tri-Valley Herald gave the Museum on Main its microfilm collection, but the Pleasanton museum didn't have a microfilm reader.

To help the community gain access to these microfilm resources, the museum board and staff members felt that buying a reader and associated hardware would be a great way to honor Sandi Thorne, DeMersman said.

More than that, they wanted to dedicate a space in the museum where people could come and conduct research using the museum's collection. And soon, the museum will be able to provide access to more of its online collection of photographs and documents as well as genealogical material, according to DeMersman.

Museum board members, staff and volunteers joined Thorne family and friends in opening the new Sandi Thorne Research Center last Friday.

"This furthers one of the museum's goals of expanding access to our collection to more people," DeMersman added.

The research center will be open on a regular basis during normal museum hours, though making an appointment with museum staff is recommended to facilitate the ease of retrieving materials.

Located at 603 Main St., the museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.museumonmain.org or call 462-2766.

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