Sacramento History Museum Logo Sacramento History Museum

Educational Programs

All programs are grade-level appropriate and are aligned with College and Career Readiness Core Standards (W.CCR.8, SL.CCR.1,3,6. L.CCR.1,5,6.) and California Curriculum Standards for History Social Studies and Life Science Standards (LSS).

Due to the physical layout of the museum, all in-house programs can accommodate no more than one class at a time. Large groups can be accommodated by scheduling multiple programs or by rotating students through stations.

Download our 2014-2015 Education Brochure (pdf) and our Field Trip Request Form (pdf) to get started today! The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation also provides scholarships to low income and Title 1 schools. Download and submit the Scholarship Application Form (pdf) to apply for partial or complete field trip financial aid.

Public Programs at the Sacramento History Museum or in Your Classroom

A Blast from the Past: Living History! - 1 hour program
What were the people of Sacramento City like? Meet an early Sacramento citizen and learn about daily life in the 1850s. Choose from a diverse group of living history re-enactors who will share their character's story. HSS 3.3, 3.4, 4.3, 4.4, 5.82

May Woolsey's Trunk - 1 hour program
How do historians use artifacts to decode the past? Open a Victorian-era trunk filled with clues that tell the story of a twelve year old Sacramento girl that lived in the late 1800s. HSS 1.4, 2.1

Nisenan - California Indians of the Sacramento Region - 1 hour program
Using hands-on artifacts, students get to know the earliest inhabitants of the area, the Nisenan. Explore how they acquired food and building materials, prepared for ceremonies and rituals, and created a society that flourished for centuries. HSS 3.2

The Gold Rush - 1 hour 30 minute program
Our most popular program! The Gold Rush Program tells the tale of John Sutter, James Marshall and Sam Brannan during the California Gold Rush. In addition, students will try to make their own fortune as they pan for gold and other treasures. (Gold Panning included only for the in-house program). HSS 4.4

Head West - 1 hour program
Why did thousands of pioneers risk their property, families, and lives to make the overland journey to California? Using stories and hands-on artifacts, students learn about life on the overland trail and go on their own westward journey. HSS 5.8

Anchors Away
What was sea navigation like and why was the journey so perilous? Using maps of the travel routes, students compare and contrast the journey round Cape Horn and the Isthmus of Panama. Students learn about life on a shop, navigational terms, and learn the fats of those who traveled the high seas. HSS 5.8

California's Agriculture - 1 hour program
Discover what California's true gold is - Agriculture! Which fruits and vegetables are grown in the Sacramento Valley? Learn about life on the farm and California's agricultural history through artifacts and hands-on activities. LSS 2.0

More Options to Enhance Your Field Trip Experience

Pan for Gold and More - 30 minute program
Students learn how to pan for gold and other minerals, discover the difference between real gold and fool's gold, and get to keep their loot! (Included in the in-house Gold Rush Program).

Historic Print Shop - 30 minute program
See how newspapers were produced on our operational 1850s era hand press. Plus, send us a list of your students' names at least three weeks in advance and each one will receive a personalized "WANTED" poster.

Museum Scavenger Hunt - 1 hour program
Created by our museum docents specifically for students, the scavenger hunt guides students to artifacts throughout the museum. The scavenger hunt, clipboard, answer sheet, and pencil are all provided.

Self-Guided Museum Tour - 1 hour program
For a self-guided class tour of the museum, simply walk through and enjoy the exhibits on your own.

Guided Museum Tour - 1 hour program
Take a guided tour and see the museum and exhibits through the eyes of our museum docents. this special tour will give visitors insights into the themes of the galleries and highlight specific artifacts.

Old Sacramento Scavenger Hunt - 1 hour program
A self-guided scavenger hunt throughout Old Sacramento that asks students to find historical landmarks, buildings, and markers. Scavenger hunt, clipboard, pencil and prize are included.

Go to Town! Historic Old Sacramento Walking Tours

Sacramento City: California's Gold Rush Legacy - 1 hour program
A fascinating and entertaining tour hosted by one of Sacramento's colorful characters from the past. Discover the Pony Express, Transcontinental Railroad, and Gold Rush amid the original and reconstructed backdrop of Historic Old Sacramento.

Architectural Tour: From Canvas to Brick - 1 hour program
The tour traces the history of Sacramento through floods, fires, the Gold Rush, and becoming California's capital. Details of the decline and eventual redevelopment of historic buildings are portrayed in a unique and informative tour.

Get the Real Dirt!

Old Sacramento Underground Tour - 1 hour program
Get the low down on Sacramento's efforts to spare the city from devastating floods in the 1860s and 1870s! Visitors uncover evidence of the city's successful attempts to raise its streets, including historic buildings, basements, and underground hollow sidewalks. Suitable for students fourth grade and up. HSS 4.3, 4.4, 8.6, 10.3, 11.2

Movies and More!

Sit and See: An Introductory Film and a Walking Tour of Old Sacramento - 1 hour 30 minute program
A combination of the film Rising Above: Building the Indomitable City and either the Sacramento City Walking Tour or the Architectural Tour. Students, adults, and history buffs will enjoy the visual component of the film and the physical reality of the walking tour.

Hands-On Gold Rush! - 1 hour program
A great introduction to the California Gold Rush, this program combines the hands-on activity of gold panning with a short introductory film about Sacramento and the California Gold Rush. Miners will each receive a vial to take home their treasures.

All about Sacramento - 45 minute program
Short on time? Make the most of it and visit the Sacramento History Museum for a brief guided tour and enjoy a succinct twenty minute film about the beginning of Sacramento and the California Gold Rush. This program is perfect for groups on the go with limited time to explore Old Sacramento.

History Presents: Rising Above: Building the Indomitable City - 20 minute program
Watch history come alive! Bring your class, group, or private party to the Sacramento History Museum and enjoy a twenty minute feature film about the early days of Sacramento and the California Gold Rush.

Traveling Trunk Program

California Gold Rush - two week loan
Educators can rent the California Gold Rush traveling trunk, complete with easily adaptable lesson plans. The trunk contains primary sources, historic artifacts, costumes and activities. This program is all about bringing history to life in your classroom. HSS 4.1, 4.3, 4.4

Partnership Programs with Esquire IMAX

The following options are a joint program between the Esquire IMAX Theatre located at 1211 K Street and the Sacramento History Museum located at 101 I Street.

Going West
A fun-filled day including the Head West Program at the Sacramento History Museum and the Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West IMAX feature. Students will discover the hazards of traveling west along the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails as they make decisions about what to take on their own westward journey. Students will see first-hand the wild landscape of the West as Lewis and Clark make their way across the continent.

Going for the Gold
Become a miner for a day! Pan for gold and learn about California's Gold Rush story at the Sacramento History Museum then visit the IMAX and see Adventures in Wild California. Students will experience the Gold Rush for themselves as they learn about competition in the mines, town life, and see California's history and geography come to life before their eyes.

Create your Own
Take a self guided tour of the Sacramento History Museum or participate in a Museum scavenger hunt with your students. Then choose any IMAX Education Film of your choice.

Underground Tour Adventure
Choose any IMAX Education Film of your choice and combine it with an Old Sacramento Underground Tour adventure.

Current IMAX Education Film library:

  • Adventures in Wild California - California History and Geography
  • Mysteries of Egypt - History, Geography, Ancient Culture
  • Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West - History, Geography and Language Arts
  • Everest - Geology, Physiology, Physics, Meteorology, and Psychology
  • Space Station 3D - Space Science, Geography, Geology and Teamwork
  • Under the Sea 3D - Science , Oceanography, Biology, Social Studies
  • Extreme - Lifestyle Studies, Geography, science and Physical Education
  • Hubble 3D - Astronomy, Space Exploration and Environmental Science

General Information

Payment Information
Payment in full is required on the day of the scheduled field trip or tour reservation. An invoice for each reservation will be sent and will serve as confirmation of the field trip or tour reservation. A late fee of $50 will be charged for past due accounts. The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation accepts checks and all major credit cards and can take payment over the phone by calling the museum front desk line at (916) 808-7059 seven days a week, 9:00AM - 5:00PM.

Cancellations and Rescheduling
We require at least 72 hours notice in order to cancel or reschedule a program. No refund will be given for notice of cancellation which is less than 72 hours. If payment has not been received, you are still responsible for the full amount of the program, plus the $50 late fee for past due accounts.

The Sacramento History Museum is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. All three levels can be reached by elevator. Accessible restrooms and drinking fountains are located on the first floor.

Food and drink are not allowed inside the Sacramento History Museum. There is an outdoor picnic area as well as a large grassy area a short distance from the museum. Student backpacks and lunches may be stored at the museum for the length of the program with prior notice. Please note that there is no refrigeration available.

Directions and Location
The Sacramento History Museum is located at the corner of Front and I Streets in Old Sacramento near the Sacramento Riverfront. Please click here for a map and driving directions.

A small number of limited term, metered parking spaces are available on the streets of Old Sacramento. However, these spaces are not suitable for guests visiting longer than 90 minutes. All-day parking is available in the large garage at the I Street entrance to Old Sacramento, for a nominal fee. School bus parking is available on a first come basis behind the California State Railroad Museum. Additional bus parking is available at the California Automobile Museum located at 2200 Front Street.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing
Many of our programs contain an outdoor component. Summer and spring can be rather warm while fall and winter tend to be cool. We advise layered clothing and comfortable walking shoes.



Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


1 Presentation $200
Each additional presentation $50
Mileage (outside city of Sacramento) Varies


Gold panning only $3 each
Adding to other program $1 each


Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults FREE


Students $3 each
Students adding to other programs $1 each
Teachers FREE
1 Chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


Student tour with museum visit $8 each
Student tour ticket only $5 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $15 each


Students $4 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


Presentation only $2 each
"WANTED" posters $1 each


Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $5 each


Students $3 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $4 each


Students $2 each
Teachers FREE
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
Additional adults $2 each


Two Week Rental $50 each


Students $9.50 each
Adults $13 each


Students $11.50 each
Adults $23 each
1 chaperone/8 students FREE
  • All prices include IMAX & Museum admission
  • Groups must be 20 or more
  • Combination tours based on availability
  • Discounted concessions available upon request starting at $3.50


Contact Kristin Nicholson at (916) 808-6896 or knicholson@cityofsacramento.org, or Julie Ivanovich at or jivanovich@cityofsacramento.org.

If you already have an idea of the programs and times you are interested in requesting, please fill out and return our Field Trip Request Form (pdf).

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