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Over 25 museums participated in the annual Sacramento Museum Day this Saturday February 5. On the first Saturday of February for the past 13 years Sacramento has opened many museums to the public free of charge. Some places are always packed while other museums don’t experience such problems.
I chose two locations to visit this year. One of them I knew would be packed (the Sacramento Zoo) and the other I wasn’t sure (Crocker Art Museum).
As I was getting off Interstate 5 I knew the Sacramento Zoo was going to be packed. Traffic going west on Sutterville Road was backed all the way to the freeway. I ended up going to the zoo the back way from Freeport Blvd. It didn’t really matter traffic was backed up and parking spaces were at a premium.
(Sacramento Zoo entrance)
None of this prepared to what we saw moving up to the Sacramento Zoo. Hundreds of people were lined up to get into the zoo. It seemed like a zoo inside and outside. Like other people with small children I dropped off the people I was with at Fairytale Town and headed to the Crocker.
I heard parents waiting to get into the zoo yelling instructions to their kids but it didn’t really matter on this beautiful sunny day a child is going to run and not stand still in line. Unless Sacramento Museum Day is expanded to Sacramento Zoo Weekend the zoo will be the most popular place to be on any given free admission day.
The Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) has done a great job over the past decade to coordinate this event. This year Umpqua Bank sponsored the event presented by SAM. Sacramento Museum Day is a great venue to showcase the wealth of art, history, transportation, science and wildlife Sacramento has to offer. Many of the museums are well known and in some cases close to each other but as the number of museums expands you can also attend regional museums like the Folsom History Museum as well as Woodland’s Heidrick Ag History Center.
The Gottfried Helnwein: Inferno of the Innocents exhibit had just opened the previous weekend and I’ve wanted to see it. Gottfried Helnwein’s art addresses several themes including images reminiscent of World War II and its effects it had on his native country of Austria. Although born after WWII in Vienna Austria the exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum seemed to be WWII inspired. His exhibit runs until April 24
A couple of his art pieces reminded me of Marilyn Manson and Rammstein art covers. Helnwein in fact did the cover for Rammstein’s Sehnsucht as well as working with Manson on art in The Golden Age of Grotesque album.
The exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum contained many Helnwein's pieces that were enormous. No photography was allowed of Helnwein’s work but there were a couple of pieces outside of his main exhibit that did not have that restriction.
Although I went to see Helnwein exhibit I ended up spending hours at the Crocker viewing other exhibits.
The Crocker also had special activities for Museum Day including an interactive space with art-inspired games at the Art Education Resource Room. Hands-on art on the Second Floor Ballroom was also being demonstrated by a couple of the museum’s volunteers. Several other activities also took place throughout the day.
I’m not sure how long it takes to tabulate the number of people that attended this year’s Sacramento Museum Day but I wonder if it was more than last year’s 85,000.
Photos by David Alvarez