Location: One Main St., Salinas

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day and Easter

Cost: Memberships available. Regular admission: $10.95 adults; $8.95 seniors over 62, students and military with identification; $7.95 youth 13-17; $5.95 children 6-12; free for children 5 and under

More information: www.steinbeck.org or 796-3833

After banning and burning his books, Salinas officially made peace with John Steinbeck in 1998 with the opening of the National Steinbeck Center.

The tide began turning more than two decades earlier. The passage of time, plus the favorable national publicity that came when a Steinbeck postage stamp was issued, caused people to reconsider the man they had vilified for writing about the harsh living and working conditions of Dust Bowl refugees.

The author of "The Grapes of Wrath," "East of Eden," "Cannery Row" and other classics went from ungrateful traitor to favorite son.

The idea for a Steinbeck center started small, with plans to build a wing on the John Steinbeck Library to house archives and other materials. From there, the concept grew into a separate, standalone center, pushed along by the city's redevelopment agency providing $3.5 million in funds and a piece of land on Main Street. More public and private funding followed, partly from the agribusiness community that had once condemned Steinbeck.


The center has changing exhibits, but Steinbeck and his life and work are its centerpiece, explored through photographs, video, interactive displays and artifacts, including the pickup and camper shell Steinbeck lived in as he wrote "Travels with Charley."

The Valley of the World agricultural wing, now called the Rabobank Agriculture Museum, opened in 2003, focusing on the history of farming in the fertile valley.