Paso Robles Pioneer Museum revitalized Paderewski exhibit

February 10, 2023


The life and times of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Paso Robles’s most famous resident, was celebrated on January 29, 2023, at Pioneer Museum, 2010 Riverside Avenue, in Paso Robles. A ribbon cutting took place at 2:00 p.m.


Among the most visible displays at Pioneer Museum is the Ignacy Jan Paderewski exhibit, which is of regional significance and particular interest to classical music fans who visit Paso Robles to attend the Paderewski Festival music events in November. And now, the Paderewski exhibit has been completely transformed into a state-of-the-art, multi-screened, digital display that highlights the life of the hugely successful composer and pianist and chronicles his amazing accomplishments. In addition to historical artifacts and furnishings, the technological display allows visitors to experience major events in Paderewski’s life and listen to a sampling of the maestro’s music.


Paderewski was not only an internationally famous musician, but he was also a statesman, the prime minister of Poland, a global philanthropist, and a Paso Robles vineyard owner and vintner whose investments in the region produced award-winning wines and helped to establish the importance of Zinfandel grape cultivation in the United States.


To commemorate the revised Paderewski exhibit, Paso Robles City Council members, county supervisors, school board members, and other local leaders attended the exhibit’s reopening. KPRL radio host Dick Mason served as master of ceremonies and loyal, and longtime Pioneer Museum docents were on hand to assist visitors. Daou Vineyards offered wine tastings and Paso Robles High School FFA members furnished non-alcohol refreshments.


The exhibit was officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a dedication of the Paderewski display to Elizabeth “Byby” Root (1929-2021), a well-known local community historian, author, and realtor who passed away in 2021. An avid supporter of regional history and the performing arts, Byby was instrumental in the formation and development of Pioneer Museum with her late husband, G. Eldon Root (1924-2003).


Numerous individuals contributed to the completion of the current Paderewski exhibit. Financial donors include the Sauret Trust, the Mary Studer Trust, Shirley Capaci, Cyndi Eberherr, and Ron Brooks. Custom computer design and development were provided by Nanonation, Inc., Ryan Daniels, and his crew. Construction was implemented by Rick Heim, Adam Mierzwinski, Mike Pahler, Pahler Construction, and Spencer Dignan. Consultants to the project include the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California and Paderewski Festival Board of Directors members Marek Zebrowski and Melissa Chavez.


Research to make the Paderewski exhibit and other exhibits possible was supplied by Elizabeth “Byby” Root, Karl Von Dollen, a relentless local researcher and Pioneer Museum historian who passed away in 2022, and by Melody Mullis, a devoted member of Pioneer Museum for more than 16 years and president of the Board of Directors.


Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Hours of operation are Thursday through Sunday, from 1-4:00 p.m. Call Pioneer Museum at 805-239-4556 or visit

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