Visiting the California Museum with Kids

California: the “Golden State”. Where everyone knows how to surf, lives by the beach and drinks Napa Valley wine. Well, at least that is the stereotype.

What most non-Californian’s don’t know is that we are such a diverse group. From Sunny San Diego to the stars of Hollywood, the low desert to the snowy mountain peaks on Mount Shasta and everything in between, California definitely has it all!

If you are visiting Sacramento on business or you live in our wonderful capital city, then visit our local California Museum and educate yourself on some the great achievements that our state is known for. I had the opportunity to visit this museum with my daughter – and I’m embarrassed to say that it was my first time entering into the building! With young children and living in the area for many years, I have visited all the “hot spots” –  the Railroad Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Aerospace Museum, Sacramento Children’s Museum, etc. I honestly never thought the California Museum was worth my time. Boy, was I wrong!

If you have never visited the museum, its home of the California Hall of Fame. The purpose is to engage, educate and enlighten people about our rich California history. Through interactive exhibits, we learn how the people of California have contributed to the world through innovation, arts, sports and culture. The idea of the “California Dream” comes to life and shows how many individuals have made their personal marks on history.

Exhibits included learning about immigrants coming to California, family experiences in the Gold Rush, and incredible women who have left major marks on California history. Interactive exhibits help teach about “Healthy Habits” and those who have shaped the movie industry in Hollywood. As a mom of a “pre teen” girl- I was proud to go through the exhibit of “Remarkable Women” with my daughter. She loved seeing the exhibits of female athletes, entrepreneurs and scientists.   Showing her that she truly can aspire to be anything she wants to be… including a famous cookie maker (Mrs. Fields) – that definitely got the wheels in her brain turning as she loves to bake!

The museum is open Tuesday- Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from 12pm-5pm. Admission into the museum is $9 for adults, $7.50 for children and seniors.

I would highly recommend making a visit to the California Museum. It makes for a great afternoon trip to Sacramento. Add into your day a picnic at the gardens of the State Capitol and take the walk a few blocks to the California Museum. It will prove to be an educational and fun outing for you and your family.

By Heather Crivellone



Hands-On Kids Workshop Series Begins at the California Museum

By Alyssa Green

California Museum 020Sacramento 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.

California Museum Collage 5

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.”

durell_120916_tcm_health_0173_0Visitors 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.

California Museum Collage 7

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 24Discover 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.

What:  Hands-on Learning Series for kids

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