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Exhibitions at the Sacramento History Museum

Visitors to the Sacramento History Museum delve into our region’s rich and diverse heritage. Our permanent and temporary exhibitions present the development of Sacramento City and County. These exhibitions are developed by the curatorial staff at the Center for Sacramento History.


Gold, Greed, & Speculation: The Beginnings of Sacramento City

Gold, Greed and SpeculationThe museum’s lobby gallery presents the first fifty years of Sacramento City and provides a wonderful introduction to our local history.  The exhibit features historic artifacts, a mural composed of over 150 images, and two interactive computer kiosks.  Visitors are acquainted with Sacramento’s rise during the California Gold Rush, the struggles early citizens faced in creating this new city, and the economic pursuits that shaped our city’s destiny.

Historic Print Shop

Our print shop is staffed by docents at various times throughout the week.  Learn about newspaper production and job printing and even get your own “Wanted” poster printed at this working 19th century print shop.


Sacramento’s I Street Bridge

Sacramento’s I Street Bridge was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1912 with contributions by Sacramento and Yolo counties.  A true engineering accomplishment in its day, this bridge was built to last and continue to be used today.  This photo exhibit at the Sacramento History Museum chronicles the history of this enduring landmark.


Coming to California and The Lure of Gold

The Gold Rush altered the course of history for California, and Sacramento was in the heart of it all!  These two exhibits recount the discovery of gold in the American River, and the experiences of those who risked everything for a chance to strike it rich.  Visitors also learn about the different types of gold mining processes and get to see real samples of gold!


The Community Gallery

As a community, Sacramento has changed greatly over the city's relatively young history.  In the Community Gallery, visitors learn about the Nisenan and Maidu Indian Nations, through our displays of baskets, jewelry and weaponry.  With the arrival of European settler John Sutter and the resulting Gold Rush, Sacramento’s social landscape changed dramatically.  The Community Gallery features a range of displays on topics like riverboat transportation, Victorian childhood, and the establishment of municipal infrastructure.



Trouble in River City

During the midst of the Great Depression, Sacramento played host to a long-sunning criminal trial that captivated the nation. Trouble in River City tells the story of eighteen farm labor organizers who were tried for Criminal Syndicalism – the attempt to overthrow the government by violent means. The trial played out for nearly four months and included such sensational elements as faked kidnappings, beatings, and media leaks.


Dunlap’s Dining Room

Learn the story of a Sacramento family that converted their Oak Park home into a business that would become a cherished local eatery for decades. 


The Agricultural Gallery

Sacramento is located in the heart of the Central Valley — one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. Agricultural pioneers are renowned for devising ingenious methods to make farm work more efficient and profitable. In this gallery, visitors see the original McCormick Reaper that revolutionized grain farming. In addition, our beautiful cannery label collection is a testament to the industry that dominated Sacramento in the early part of the 20th century.

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