Anais Guillem is one of those UC Merced grad students you don’t ever want to see leave town.
“During my time here, I have always looked for ways to collaborate with local residents, and also to give back something beneficial to the community,” she told the Times shortly before her departure.
In addition to her on-campus efforts in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program and the Heritage Interpretation and Experience Lab, Guillem has worked in the Merced community to promote and advocate for historic preservation and local history.
The 35-year-old Guillem has been the driving force behind “Historic Places Merced” — a community-based project and webplatform dedicated to the “cultural heritage and social memory in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Her work has been especially valuable to the Merced County Courthouse Musuem and the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
Wayne Eisenhart’s recent book and catelog of Old Town Merced homes was supported by Guillem’s talent in the fields of digital preservation, architecture and cultural heritage.
You can discover more about her work online at the “Historic Places Merced” Facebook page.
But now she’s leaving 🙁 …
At least for awhile.
Actually by the time people read this story, the native of Bordeaux, France will be nestled in her country’s City of Love — Paris!
And not only that. She’ll be working on the massive restoration and reconstruction project of the Notre Dame Cathedral that was gutted by fire in 2019.
Nevertheless, before Guillem said goodbye, she left us with a gift.
She personally designed and illustrated a deck of playing cards that pays tribute to Merced’s cultural history. Yes, Guillem is also a talented artist, painter and designer.
They feature illustrations of landmarks such as the Merced Theatre tower and the Laura Fountain, as well as artisitic tributes to this town’s cultural heritage and peoples.
She told the Times that she was inspired to make the cards after participating in the annual California Preservation Conference and seeing a similar deck of cards distributed to illustrate modern architecture.
The Courthouse Museum made it possible to have some decks produced so that Mercedians can enjoy these cards.
There are limited quantities of the card decks priced at $10. To make a purchase, please call the museum office at (209) 723-2401. Curbside pickup is available, starting Jan. 4. The musuem’s main gallery is closed to the public due to COVID-10 restrictions.