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.


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.

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.

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.

Spring Gardens at the Templeton Historical Museum's Horstman House
Historical picture of the Templeton Train Depot
Mrs. Goodell with her kindergarten class in 1950 at the Templeton Elementary School
Fredrickson family photos on display at the Templeton Historical Museum. Gustaf Fredrickson came to Templeton in 1888 and made shoes and harnesses. He wired most of the businesses and churches in town when electricity arrived in 1914. His son, Melvin, was a beloved janitor and bus driver for the Templeton Unified School District

The Templeton Historical Museum Society was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1989, the realization of a dream of nearly 25 years earlier. The Horstman house, built in the 1920s by Albert Horstman, a prominent Templeton businessman, was donated to the society in 1994, and it serves as the museum where local memorabilia and photographs are displayed. Templeton’s original railroad warehouse (behind the house) contains a 1925 Model T in original condition, an antique carriage and other items too large to put into the house.

 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.


Join us at one of our many events in Templeton!


Take a preview of our exhibits on display at the museum.


Become a member and support the collection of history in Templeton.


We have three buildings that house our collections.  Explore them in Templeton.


Families made a difference in Templeton, California.  Here are just a few.

Get involved today!

Join the vibrant community at the Templeton Historical Museum Society and play a vital role in preserving our rich heritage! Whether you have a few hours to volunteer or the ability to contribute funds, every bit of support helps us bring history to life through engaging exhibits and dynamic events. Your involvement ensures that the museum remains a cornerstone of learning and inspiration for generations to come. Get involved today and be a part of making history!