Adobe Mud
House Timeline
Honoring Juana
Not Just For Kids
The Juana Briones Heritage Foundation

Imagine the October sun warming the courtyard where school children dip candles, build with adobe clay, and learn about the international hide trade of businesswoman Juana Briones at the actual site of the rancho house she built in the 1840s.

children sitting on the ground sketching

A Living History Program At The House
would be a hands-on learning experience for schoolchildren, similar to the successful programs at the Peralta Adobe in San Jose.

By learning the stories of real people, kids could come to know the important cultural contributions of African Mexican settlers like Juana’s family, who came with the DeAnza expedition.  Archeological studies could provide a window into the earlier Native American settlements on the property as well.


One vision is to create learning activities that move beyond the pages of history books and to use primary source documents and bring scholars from many disciplines together to make an engaging program.









Painting of steer roping




The rich and complex heritage of the people who settled California will be told, with stories and examples celebrating the Indian, African, European and Asian family ancestry of the residents of this property.

Docents will narrate the stories of change to the house through different eras, showing architectural styles and the benefits of earthen building techniques.


Restored grounds will showcase the agricultural and medicinal value of native California plants in the Indian and Mexican cultures.

An archive library will spotlight scholarship to share the important place of women in history; Juana was one of more than thirty women who owned property in their own names in 19th century California.



Children will experience 19th century living and gain knowledge about the Mexican roots of California, using food, music, costumes, adobe clay, and artifacts. Teachers will receive curriculum materials in connection with classroom visits.


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