Sacramento History Museum

Our mission is to encourage people to explore our shared history through exhibitions, education, and programs while supporting collections, preservation, and partnerships. Our vision is to inspire and connect people through history.

Address:101 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
County or Parish:Sacramento
Primary NTEE:Arts,Culture & Humanities 
Sub NTEE:History Museums 
Executive Director:Marcia Eymann
Primary Phone:916-808-7108
Old Sacramento is a 28-acre National Historic Landmark and State Park located along the Sacramento River. It was here that Sacramento's urban core first developed during the height of the California Gold Rush in the mid-nineteenth century. The area was redeveloped in the 1960s, and the resulting district is a mix of public spaces, museums, restaurants, and shops. Building facades, cobblestone streets, and boardwalk sidewalks are just some of the historic features that visitors to Old Sacramento encounter. The Sacramento History Museum (SHM) is one of several museums that can be found within the boundaries of the Old Sacramento Historic District. The museum traces the history of the city and county of Sacramento from the communities that lived in the area before settlement, through the Gold Rush period and into the 21st century. The museum has been a feature of the District since it first opened in 1985.

Since its founding in 2003, the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation (HOSF) has been the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing innovative educational experiences to all visitors to the Old Sacramento Historic District. HOSF's early activities focused largely on providing historical interpretation and reenactments for the benefit of the public. After realizing that both organizations shared similar goals and vision, HOSF merged with the Sacramento History Museum in 2008. The SHM has expanded its offerings and now leads regular tours of Old Sacramento, produces exhibitions in the museum galleries, manages a robust schedule of school group programs, and participates in large-scale community events. Today, the museum serves a diverse audience of locals from the Sacramento region and out-of-town visitors to Old Sacramento. Locally, we directly serve the individuals and families who reside in Sacramento, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Yuba, Sutter, and Yolo counties. HOSF also enhances the experiences of visitors who come to Old Sacramento from other parts of the state, country, and world. The SHM works closely with the Sacramento Association of Museums, the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, local arts organizations, schools, and community service groups to form partnerships and collaborations. The projects, events, and programs that develop from these collaborations help to ensure that HOSF succeeds in its vision of bringing history to life for the benefit of the individuals and families who reside in or travel to the Sacramento region.

Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Unrestricted - Update permanent exhibits (estimated cost over $1,500,000)
  2. Funding: Program - Develop Gold Fever Walking Tours (estimated cost $30,000)
  3. Funding: Program - Expand Old Sacramento Underground locations (estimated cost $125,000)
  4. Funding: Other - Develop new community events and outreach opportunities (estimated cost $20,000)
  5. Funding: Program - Expand educational programs throughout the Historic District (estimated cost $75,000)
'Established in 1985, the museum building is a replica of the 1854 City Hall and Waterworks building and sits at the same location as the original structure. Located in the Old Sacramento historic district, the museum plays the key role of telling the story of the City of Sacramento's origins during the California Gold Rush, and how it evolved from gold rush boomtown to a thriving urban center, and capitol of California. Annually, the museum hosts over 15,000 school children who come to learn about California's gold rush history touring galleries, panning for gold, and exploring the stories Gold Rush era Sacramento. The museum is the starting point for any visit to the district. It is where Gold Rush walking tours, ghost tours, and underground tours begin.'

'The Old Sacramento Underground Tour program is the largest tour program with over 20,000 guests on public, private, and school tours. Visitors from around the world come to tour Sacramento's original street levels and hear the tales of the raising of the streets, and California's great flood of 1861-1862. For local residents and other guests, these tours offer an orientation to the city and an understanding of what it takes to claim and build a city in the wilderness. This one-of-a-kind experience cannot be duplicated in any other city in California. The museum also home to an active living history program with over 150 participants, and a total of more than 300 volunteers. This active group fills the streets of Old Sacramento with historical characters that interact with public and help bring history to life. All of these programs take time and money to support. The tours, museum exhibitions, school programs and living history need your support to sustain and continue to grow. Sacramento has been called one of the most historical cities in California and the Sacramento History Museum works in all of these areas bring the history to the public and for them to experience the joy, tragedy, triumphs, and achievements of our city's past and make them relevant for today's visitor.'

Marcia Eymann, Executive Director