Courthouse Museum, residents celebrate ‘60 Years Of The Times’


Local residents filled up the hallways of the Merced County Courthouse Museum last Thursday, May 23, to get a first look at the new exhibit: “The Times: 60 Years of Positive Press.”

“It was a great night,” said Sarah Lim, the museum director. “The turnout shows how much the community appreciates the Times and all the staff members who work on the paper week after week.”

The exhibit celebrates the amazing story of how Publisher John Derby started his beloved community newspaper on his kitchen table back in 1964, and kept it going through tough economic times, a fire that burned down the press building, the advent of the internet, and a global pandemic — just to name a few. Today the Times network of local papers continue to serve the communities of Merced, Atwater, Winton, Hilmar, Hughson and Waterford, and subscribers throughout the region.

One year in the making, the anniversary show was the brainchild of Lim and Derby, and the idea helped kick off a celebratory year for the company that produces the paper: Mid-Valley Publications. Sadly, Derby died in January at age 87 while enjoying the winter months at his beach home in Mexico.

“John Derby was so excited that this exhibit was going to happen,” recalled Jonathan Whitaker, the Times managing editor. “He was very involved in finding material to put on display and organizing the event. So this is a bittersweet moment because John is not here to see it, but we also know that John’s legacy and spirit live on through the panels of this exhibit, as well as through the admirable work of the Times staff that you see every week.”

“The Times: “60 Years of Positive Press” includes historical images, award-winning photos, standout front pages, and relics of newspaper days gone by. This exhibit will continue to run through Sept. 22. The museum is located at 21s and N streets. Visiting hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact the Museum office at (209) 723-2401.

It was a great night. The turnout showed how much the community appreciates you guys.


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