In addition to its fascinating Gold Rush past, the Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. With a number of exciting and/or limited time exhibits currently on display, summer is the perfect time to plan a visit to a favorite museum or explore a new one.
With an emphasis on exhibits that highlight the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (given 2019 is the sesquicentennial year), below is a sampling of must-visit exhibits that cover a variety of topics and interests.
“Microcars” Exhibit at the California Automobile Museum (through 8/5/19)
It’s the summer of microcars with the limited-time exhibit that features more than 20 of the most eye-catching and practical cars ever made. Visitors and automotive enthusiasts alike will love to learn the story behind microcars, their original purpose, varieties and eventual decline. This exhibit is focused mainly on post-war cars under 700cc or just barely over (although there are some additional microcars around the 1,000cc level).
For more, visit CalAutoMuseum.org.
“Making the Grade: California and the Transcontinental Railroad” Exhibit at the California Museum (through 9/1/19)
Discover the Transcontinental Railroad’s Golden State history in a temporary exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the route’s completion. Based on an online exhibit developed by the California State Archives, the installation features historic documents and maps drawn from its collections. Also featured are photographs and artifacts from the California State Library and California State Parks chronicling how the 1,912-mile line connected America coast-to-coast and united the nation.
For details, visit CaliforniaMuseum.org/transcontinental-railroad.
“Building a Legacy: – One Hundred and Fifty Years of the California State Capitol” Exhibit at the State Capitol Museum (through 3/20/20)
Visitors to the State Capitol can experience a compelling multi-room exhibit that looks at the fascinating 150-year history of the Golden State’s Capitol and examines both the construction and restoration of one of California’s grandest structures. As a highlight, guests can see never-before-exhibited artifacts and objects connected with the building’s history. For more, visit CapitolMuseum.ca.gov.
“Chinese Workers’ Experience” Exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum (on permanent display)
Visitors to the Railroad Museum can experience an enhanced exhibit in the Transcontinental Gallery to help personalize and bring the experiences of Chinese rail workers to life. Highlighted by four interpretive panels, two video monitors, four 3-D shadow boxes and an interactive component, the emotionally powerful exhibit allows visitors to immerse themselves in the toil and experiences of Chinese railroad workers who endured and persevered through severe weather and treacherous terrain.
For more, visit CaliforniaRailroad.museum.
“The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West” at the Crocker Art Museum (through 9/29/19)
Guests to the Crocker Art Museum will enjoy a new exhibition that celebrates the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad through the eyes of two photographers: Andrew Joseph Russell for the Union Pacific and Alfred A. Hart for the Central Pacific. The two documented the railroad’s challenging path through mountains and plains. Their original photographs and stereoviews, as well as archival materials relating to the Promontory Summit ceremony, will provide a new view into this transformative event, which allowed Sacramento — and E. B. Crocker – to prosper.
For more, visit CrockerArt.org.
Blockbuster Science in Design Lab at the Powerhouse Science Center (July)
For the month of July, guests to the Powerhouse Science Center can explore the science behind popular summer movies in their Design Lab. Visitors can enjoy a variety of engaging hands-on activities that range from designing buildings that will withstand extreme weather conditions to creating magical potions using chemical reactions. All activities are included with admission.
For more, visit PowerhouseSC.org.
“Stay Awhile: A Nathan Cordero Show” at Verge Center for the Arts (through 8/18/19)
This eclectic and compelling exhibition is a memorial celebration of the late artist Nathan Cordero, who used the most mundane materials to create art – bits of torn plywood found on the street, household items and more. The resulting exhibit has elements of graffiti and hobo art that includes snippets of text and offers a representational picture of today’s everyday world.
For more, visit VergeArt.com.
For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit SacMuseums.org.