By Alyssa Green
Sacramento is a great family town, with plenty of museums, events and activities that welcome and cater to kids. We have the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento, Fairytale Town at William Land Park, and the Sacramento Children’s Museum in nearby Rancho Cordova. Even the Crocker Art Museum has a fabulous kids tour and program. But there is one local museum that may have escaped your kid’s radar. The California Museum.
First opened in 1998, the California Museum’s purpose was to showcase the materials of the California State Archives. In 2003, former first lady Maria Shriver began working with the museum in showcasing California’s prominent women in history, and in 2004, “California’s Remarkable Women” exhibit opened, raising the profile and awareness of the museum. The museum continues to evolve, and in doing so has become more family friendly.
Today, one of the first exhibits one encounters at the museum, is “Health Happens Here,” an interactive exhibit that teaches kids that where they live, their actual zip code, may determine their life expectancy. Here’s an excerpt from the Museum’s website on this exhibit:
“Discover what Californians are doing to build health in communities across the state in this interactive journey through all the places and all the ways health happens in California. Through a series of high-tech games and interactive stations, visitors explore key factors that affect health beyond traditional diet and exercise while earning points that can be donated to 1 of 10 charities to make health happen for all Californians.”
Visitors will find several interactive games in this exhibit, from a Kinect game teaching kids what is good or bad for their health, to “Stop the Glop,” teaching kids how to put together a healthy meal from school lunch choices, to an interactive game on bullying, to a good old-fashioned hopscotch game. This wonderful, hands-on exhibit recently received the “Excellence in Exhibition” award at the American Alliance of Museums 25th annual national conference, one of just four national museums to receive the distinction.
As the museum has worked to expand its reach, it has developed a new program for kids. Starting this month (June), the fourth Saturday of each month will offer a series of hands-on learning workshops, free with regular admission. The workshops provide engaging educational activities for kids ages 3 and up.
In the very first workshop, “Greetings from California,” held this past Saturday, children had the opportunity to decorate their very own California post card using vintage, culture and history-inspired travel templates. Take a look at the next three scheduled workshops:
July 27 – Make Your Mark on History – kids will have the chance to create their own “Spirit of California” medal highlighting a California Hall of Fame inductee.
August 24 – Discover California’s Treasures: State Symbols – Kids can participate in a museum treasure hunt that will teach them about California’s state symbols.
September 28 – I Love You, California – Kids will join with the museum in celebrating our state’s birthday by learning the official State anthem and designing a California state flag.
When: Fourth Saturday of each month, 11am to 1pm
Where: California Museum, 1020 O Street (free weekend parking across the street)
Admission: FREE for children 5 years and younger, $6 for youth ages 6-13, $8.50 for adults