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Turlock museum set to feature geocaching tours
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Crystal Perry, guided by CSUS student Gabby Hadley, finds one of the geocaches set out for the Turlock Historical Societys Night at the Museum event, which debuted the new geocaching tour. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD/The Journal

The game is soon to be afoot at the Turlock Historical Society.

The organization that maintains the artifacts and relics of Turlock’s past is moving into the present day with a new geocaching tour. The Turlock Historical Society’s geocaching adventure in downtown Turlock is an approach to history that combines nuggets of the town’s past with some modern-day technology and a little bit of sleuthing.

Geocaching is an outdoor activity that uses a Global Positioning Service device to direct a person to a hidden cache by means on longitude and latitude. A cache could be as simple as a pencil and a log book, or it can contain some little treasure or trinket for the finder.

“It’s a great way to learn about the history of the town,” said Turlock Historical Society member Monica Harris.

The addition of the geocaching tour to the historical society comes from a partnership built with the Geographer’s Toolbox class at California State University, Stanislaus and taught by Alison McNally.

The class was tasked with a semester long project of developing geocaches around downtown Turlock that related to the town’s history.

“The Geographer’s Toolbox class is an undergraduate geological survey class that gets students used to the tools used in geography, the maps, and becoming familiar with the processes,” McNally said. “For this project, the students created a walking tour that identified points of interest in Turlock’s history. They used the GPS units to record the data and came up with the hints for the search.

“It’s been a fun partnership that the students have really gotten into,” McNally continued. “They’ve put a lot of time into researching the buildings and families of Turlock and they did it with a lot of enthusiasm and gusto.”

Off-Center Thrift and Gift donated $2,000 to the historical society to use for the purchase of GPS devices.

The first geocaching tour was debuted at the Turlock Historical Society’s sponsorship recognition event, Night at the Museum, and was deemed a rousing success by those trekking downtown in search of treasure.

“I’ve done geocaching before and I really liked the historical aspect to this,” said Stephanie Telles. “It’s a good twist.”

The docents at the museum will be getting training on the devices and then the tours will open up to visitors and school tours. The historical society is hoping to have the feature available to the public sometime in June, accompanied with expanded summer hours for Saturday.