Don Gillaspie's memory will live on through theater

Saturday’s West Kern Oil Museum theater dedication attracted an overflow crowd. “I’m really pleased with the turnout,” said Don Maxwell, who directs the Museum’s all-volunteer staff. “A lot of people worked hard to put this all together. It was a nice way to honor Don Gillaspie and introduce our new exhibits. The 25-seat theater was named after Gillaspie, the community’s hard working videographer who died last year. Gillaspie was a history buff and used his visual arts skills to chronicle hundreds of local events. His death left a huge void. The Museum wanted to honor Gillaspie’s memory for his contributions in preserving the community’s history. He was a longtime Museum volunteer and served on the board of directors for 10 years. After retiring as a local postal worker, Gillaspie devoted his energy toward Chroma Teleproduction, the video company he created, as well as a full plate of community volunteer work. The reception also served as a launch pad for several new exhibits. The Dopyera family legacy is featured in a display that includes two of the famous Dobro guitars along with ceramics and family photos. Other new exhibits include antique perfume bottles, glass slippers, cameras, and toys. Karen and Robert Mitchell have a display in the Museum’s Buena Vista Room art gallery featuring large photographs of Taft’s early days. Museum volunteers prepared homemade refreshments enjoyed by the more than 70 people who attended the event. “We hope people will come to the Museum to check out our new exhibits,” Maxwell said. The highly acclaimed local Museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-4 p.m.