The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts, mostly known in its abbreviated form, The California Museum – home of the California Hall of Fame – is housed in the State Archives Building in Sacramento, one block from the State Capitol. The building has more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of exhibit space, and facilities for lectures, performances, receptions and events.
The Museum, then known as the Golden State Museum, opened in June 1998 as a unique public/private partnership. It was developed under the Secretary of State’s office with state bond funding for the facility and the opening exhibits. However, the Museum’s long-term management and financial support are the responsibility of a nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, no direct funding from the state supports the Museum. Private contributions, augmented by proceeds from admissions and the Museum Store, fund the Museum’s programs and operations.
In May 2004, First Lady Maria Shriver, working with the Secretary of State and California State Parks, presented an exhibit titled “California’s Remarkable Women.” This trailblazing exhibit honors the legacy and celebrates the accomplishments of California’s remarkable women of yesterday and today. The exhibit’s success set in motion the idea for The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts—a Museum that tells the story of California and for the first time the stories of California’s women.
First Lady Maria Shriver has led a bipartisan effort to create this revitalized museum which operates as a nonprofit, non-partisan historical and cultural institution dedicated to telling the complete history of California, including the stories of California’s women. A revitalized Board of Trustees oversees the operations and has launched a multi-million dollar capital campaign to design and develop the new Museum.
The Governor and First Lady serve as Honorary Chairs of the Museum along with an Honorary Board including former First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Gloria Deukmejian, Gayle Wilson and Sharon Davis.
An exhibition of costumes from Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Star Trek, and many more of the most popular films and television shows, to tell the story of how costumes play a crucial role in defining characters for visual story telling.
This exhibit, inspired by California First Lady Maria Shriver, honors the achievements of the extraordinary women who strengthen, shape and serve California. Focusing on the limitless opportunities awaiting present and future generations of women leaders.
Mostly known as pets and companions, for thousands of years, dogs have helped people with daily tasks such as herding livestock, hunting for food, or hauling loads. More recently, dogs have been used to help people with disabilities, to assist in search and rescue missions, to protect the public in partnership with military and law enforcement units, helping scientists track endangered species, locating ancient burial grounds, or alerting wine grape growers to insect infestations in the vines. California has been a leader in developing specialized dog training, and California dogs have served in many capacities around the nation and the world.
Beautiful and rare baskets from over twenty different tribes will demonstrate why California Indian basketry is widely considered to be among the world's finest textile traditions. California Indians created baskets for a multitude of purposes; they used them for food storage and preparation, to carry their babies, to wear as caps, to exchange as gifts or dowries, and much more. A wide variety of utilitarian and decorative baskets will be on display.
Each January, the California Museum presents a joint exhibit and school program that centers on the internment of Californians of Japanese descent during World War II. Artifacts and photographs follow the history of Japanese Californians from immigration to the internment and the ultimately successful struggle to obtain redress for their wartime losses. This year, an expanded version of the exhibit will include original art, furniture and crafts made in the internment camps. The exhibit highlights fundamental concepts of rights and responsibilities, while providing an inspirational message of personal strength and perseverance.
An exhibit of objects was on loan from California’s legendary Hearst Castle collection. The 40 remarkably diverse and beautiful art objects, many of which have not left the Castle grounds since their acquisition, were on display in galleries designed to recreate the ambiance of Hearst Castle. In addition to these extraordinary objects, visitors had the opportunity to view reproduction drawings by Castle architect Julia Morgan.
As community leaders and activists, politicians and entertainers, entrepreneurs and artists, Latinas have helped build California. This exhibit recognized their achievements from the 1700s to today.
Women have been discouraged from becoming traditional artists but have expressed their creativity through textiles, an art form both beautiful and useful. For women in the 1800’s a quilt could be like a diary. Much of what women packed for their journey to California consisted of their own handiwork: treasured quilts, best dresses, baby gowns, and other needlecraft. The meticulous stitches and the fabrics used give visitors a glimpse into the long-ago lives of California women. A few of the treasures that were displayed included: a baby coverlet made by Tamsen Donner (who perished in 1847 en route to CA with the Donner Party); a catalog of stitches – a sampler of diverse skills; a “best” quilt, Blazing Star variation, includes subtle stitched patterns of diagonals, wreaths, and feathers in the off blocks; quilted petticoats and much more.
The California Hall of Fame was conceived by First Lady Maria Shriver to honor legendary individuals and families who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history. Since 2006, the California Museum has held annual ceremonies to induct approximately a dozen notable Californians per year in to this hall of fame, on exhibit at the California Museum year-round.
Towering six stories over the Museum’s courtyard, the public art piece “RIGHTS” inspires thought and comment. Sculpted into the massive wall are words taken from California’s Constitution and chosen for their enduring meaning.
Depending on the angle of the light, different words leap forward. In the early morning or late afternoon, the giant word “RIGHTS,” the underlying theme of the piece, stands out, while at midday other “rights,” indicated by words such as “redress” and “assemble,” are more apparent. The artists’ grouping of the words adds another layer of meaning, punctuated by colors drawn from California’s own palette of forest, ocean, and desert hues.
The Wall was designed by artists Mike Mandel, Larry Sultan and Paul Kos, and built in collaboration with Frederick Meiswinkel Inc. and Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis. The sculpture was funded in part by the California Arts Council’s Art in Public Buildings program.
(Annual, next awards Fall 2007) The Minerva Awards recipients are extraordinary women who have dedicated their lives to positive change in California. At the 2006 Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women, Jane Alexander, Marilyn Hamilton, Sandra Orozco Stapleton, Ramona Delgado, Jennie Hernandez Gin, and Dr. Sally Ride received this year’s Minerva Awards. This exhibit highlights the careers of these courageous women as well as recipients from past years.
Dina Eastwood, Debra Bowen, Kevin M. Bacon, Stephen Burns, Collie Christensen, Jack Coffey, Ruth Coleman, Richard S. Costigan III, Jens C. Egerland, Marcy Friedman, Pam Giarrizzo, Dolores C. Huerta, Sarah Meeker Jensen, Sherry Lansing, Nancy Lenoil, Fred L. Main, Jillian Manus, Wanda McDaniel, Nancy E. McFadden, Kitty O'Neal, Alice Perez, Anne-Marie Petrie, Dave Pringle, Cassandra Pye, Pat Roboostoff Splinter, Jami Warner, Andrea Wong, Allan Zaremberg