SACRAMENTO MUSEUM GUIDE
The City of Sacramento and the greater Sacramento region has a large number of museums – both large and small. Sacramento Museum Day, when participating museums offer free (or reduced) admission to the public, is generally celebrated on the first Saturday in February.
See “Old Sacramento (in brief)” for the museums to be found in Old Sacramento.
Other museums located in Downtown Sacramento are:
California Museum – The California Museum is the home of the California Hall of Fame and it has both permanent and rotating exhibits.
California State Capitol Museum – The Museum has exhibits and historical items related to California’s political past. Tours of the Capitol are offered on the hour daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on major holidays.
California Indian Museum State Historic Park – The Indian Museum is located in Midtown Sacramento in back of Sutter’s Fort. The Museum illustrates California Indian culture, arts and lifestyle. Closed on major holidays.
California State Railroad Museum – See “Old Sacramento History (In Brief)”.
California State Library – The neo-classical Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Closed on state holidays.
Crocker Art Museum – Founded in 1885, the Crocker Art Museum is the oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi. The Crocker Art Museum offers special exhibitions and programs to complement its collections which include Californian art, European and Asian Art, and African and Oceanic art.
The Italianate mansion and adjacent gallery building built by Judge Edwin B. Crocker was renovated in 1989 to restore the historic façade and create a modern gallery interior. The buildings and the 1969 Herold Wing addition were renamed the Crocker Art Museum in 1978. In 2010 the Crocker Art Museum opened the 125,000 square-foot Teel Family Pavilion. The 2010 expansion allowed for the dedication of gallery space for all the varied collections, and enabled the dedication of the historic building’s first floor as the Museum’s Education Center.
The Crocker Art Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1975. This is an great honor as only about three percent of our nation’s museums are accredited.
The gallery building is a California Historical Landmark and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Every third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday”. Thousands of residents and visitors visit the Crocker Art Museum each year.
Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park – Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park is no longer open to the public (effective January 1, 2015). Governor Jerry Brown and his wife Anne Gust moved into the mansion, located at 1526 H Street, after extensive renovations were completed.
The State of California purchased the three-story Second-Empire-Italianate Victorian in 1903 to serve as a governor’s mansion. Starting in 1903, California governors and their families resided in the mansion. The use of the mansion as the official governor’s residence ended shortly after Governor Ronald Regan was elected.
In 1967 after the Reagans moved out the mansion was turned into a museum and opened to the public.
Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park – Leland Stanford was a California governor, railroad tycoon, and the founder of Stanford University. Today the Mansion serves as both a museum and the State’s official location for diplomatic and protocol receptions.
Wells Fargo History Museum (Downtown) – The Downtown Wells Fargo History Museum has exhibits showing Wells Fargo’s banking history and its role in Sacramento history. The exhibits include a restored stagecoach.
Other museums outside of the immediate Old Sacramento/Downtown area are:
Aerospace Museum of California – Explore the history of aerospace. There are exhibits and you can sit in the cockpit of an airplane.
California Agricultural Museum – The California Agricultural Museum is the home of the Heidrick Tractor Collection and a large collection of antique agricultural equipment.
California Statewide Museum Collections Center – The California Department of Parks and Recreation hosts a collection of historical collections that have developed over the past 100+ years.
Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park – Located in Folsom, California. H.P Livermore realized that the water of the American River could turn generators for electricity in Sacramento, 22 miles downstream. With his partners, Livermore built the hydroelectric powerhouse which today still looks much as it did in 1895 when it starting serving Sacramento.
Locke Museums – Locke is an unincorporated community located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta south of Sacramento. Locke is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only town in the U.S. built exclusively by Chinese Americans for Chinese Americans. Museums in Locke: Boarding House Museum; Chinese School Museum; Dai Loy Gambline Museum; and, Jan Ying Museum.
Maidu Museum and Historic Site – Located in Roseville, CA, the Museum has interactive exhibits and displays. The outside trail meanders through the site and cultural landmarks (bedrock mortar holes, carved petroglyphs) can be observed.
Museum of Medical History – Located in East Sacramento, Museum exhibits include an iron lung, patent medicines and pharmacology, Asian medicine and quackery and tools used.
Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus – The Powerhouse Science Center – Discovery Campus – was originally founded in 1951 as a space where children could experience science and nature through interactive programs and exhibits. Today, there is an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and hands-on learning.
Roseville Utility Exploration Center – The Roseville Utility Exploration Center has exhibits and workshops focused on water and energy efficiency, waste reduction and watershed protection.
Sacramento Children’s Museum – The Sacramento Children’s Museum has hand-on exhibits for children eight and younger.
Sacramento Historic City Cemetery – The Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is an outdoor museum that provides a record of the state’s history from the Gold Rush to today.
Sojourner Truth African American Museum – The Museum is dedicated to bringing African, Asian, Hispanic and Native American art to the public.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park – See “Sacramento History (in brief)”.