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About Us

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Templeton Historical Museum Society is to collect, preserve and exhibit artifacts and records relating to the history of Templeton and the surrounding area.

Museum History

Plans for a museum began with the Templeton Chamber of Commerce in 1981, but it wasn't until seven years later that the dream of a museum started to become a reality. Long-time Templeton resident Al Willhoit owned 1-1/2 lots on Templeton's Main Street, and in 1988, he and his wife Carla donated the property for a museum site. Al moved to Templeton at two years of age when his father, Rev. John Burke Willhoit, became the minister of Templeton Presbyterian Church in 1916. Al remained in Templeton his entire life and died in October 1989, at the age of 75, before he saw his dream come true.

Early in 1989, Velora Howard organized a meeting of Chamber of Commerce members and members of other local organizations interested in the museum project. Their goal was to raise funds for the construction of a museum. The Templeton Historical Museum Society became established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

The Templeton Presbyterian Church, upon enlarging their facilities, found it necessary to move a 1920s house, which was on their property, and they donated the house, known as the Horstman house, to the museum society.

Horstman House

On October 17, 1994, the house was moved to the museum site where numerous volunteers renovated it and built a handicapped restroom and provided wheelchair accessibility.

The museum officially opened to the public on October 18, 1998, and, staffed by volunteers, it is open Friday through Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Moving Warehouse

A part of Templeton's history was preserved with the refurbishing of an old railroad building that dated back to when Templeton was at the end of the railroad line.
The historic 25' x 51' building was part of the train station complex that was built in the 1880s.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the many local merchants who have been so supportive of the museum and its activities over the years by donating items for the fundraiser drawings, and other items when requested. Special thanks to Joy Barlogio, and others who worked with her at the annual boutiques, for the donated space that provided museum exposure in the community and provided an opportunity to sell gift-shop items and memberships. Special thanks to the many men and women who worked at the yard sales, dinners and other fundraisers, which provided the necessary funds to renovate the Horstman house and maintain the museum.

After years of raising funds through yard sales, gift shop sales, donations, fundraiser drawings and dinners; in 2004, the museum received a very substantial bequest, which made possible the completion of the warehouse, landscaping, renovation of the kitchen in the museum's house, as well as providing annual income for years to come through prudent investments. The generous bequest was from the younger brother of Al Willhoit, Neil, who was born in Fresno, California, and came to Templeton with his family in 1916. Neil graduated from Templeton High School in 1934, married Beverly Bayne in 1938, and then moved away from Templeton. He always remembered the town of his youth, returning to visit family and friends. Neil Carmack Willhoit, Sr. died on October 16, 2002, at the age of 87.

Newspaper Article


In 2013, thanks to a generous offer from the owner, the museum purchased the Tullock blacksmith shop building next door. The Neil Willhoit bequest helped make the purchase possible. Joe Cressio began a blacksmith business there in 1918, and operated it until he had a heart attack in 1947. Robert Tullock, Sr. purchased the building and business in 1950, operating it until his death in 1996.

Chamber of Commerce

In 1913, the Templeton Board of Trade was formed to promote trade and commerce. After many years of inactivity, the Templeton Chamber of Commerce - Board of Trade was formed in 1979. For a few years a small room at the museum was used for their office as part of the original partnership with the Chamber. The Chamber is now located between Third and Fourth Streets at 321 South Main Street. They are usually open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 5:00 and on Friday from 9:00 to 1:00.


A nine-member board governs the Templeton Historical Museum Society. The board meets monthly and the directors serve without pay. They are elected by the general membership of the society at its annual meeting. The board elects its own officers: chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer. Each director serves a term of three years (with a maximum of two terms in succession). The terms are staggered so directors go off on a rotating basis.

The original board members were as follows: Serving three-year terms were Randy DeVore (chairman), Helen Koiner and Becky Terry. Those serving two-year terms were Kathryn Dau, Elaine Mattson and Carla Willhoit. Those serving one-year terms were Velora Howard, Evelyn Little and Barbara Rouche.


Members of the Museum Society are eligible to vote for the board of directors at the annual meeting in April of each year, at such time and place as may be designated by the Board of Directors. Members are also entitled to vote on each matter submitted to a vote of the membership. The corporation has the following classes of members and annual dues:

  • Individual: $15
  • Family: $20
  • Retired (fixed income): $10
  • Junior (student under 18): $5
  • Business: $35
  • Lifetime (individual or couple): $200
  • Honorary: Any person, business or organization
    so designated by the Board of Directors

Click here for more information on how to join.

Wall of Honor

“To celebrate the memory of those to whom Templeton was an important part of their life, the society erected a Wall of Honor. Whether a person or business lives or work with a connection to Templeton they are welcome to be included on the wall. Bricks are available in different sizes from 4" x 8" to 8" x 8" and range in price from $75 to $125.” Click here to view a .pdf flyer.

Wall of Honor

More information can be obtained by leaving a message on the museum's answering machine by calling (805) 434-0807, and someone will get back to you at the first available opportunity.


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Templeton Historical Museum Society 309 Main Street, Templeton, CA 93465 • 805-434-0807
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