This exhibit highlights North America’s largest bird, the
California condor, telling the story of its brush with
extinction, and of the determined people who are fighting to save
this remarkable bird.
For millennia, the California condor sailed the skies of the
Pacific Coast. By the mid-1980s, however, the condor was
dangerously close to extinction, with only 22 individuals left
alive. Determined not to allow this magnificent bird to die out,
dedicated biologists, individuals and organizations captured the
last birds living in the wild and began a captive breeding and
reintroduction program. Thanks to their dedication, today there
are over 300 condors, with about half living in the wild.
Visitors can walk into a 360-degree panorama of condor country,
test their condor knowledge in a computer game, measure
themselves against a condor’s ten-foot wingspan, and see a real
stuffed condor, collected in Monterey in 1885 and on loan from
The exhibit was developed by the Ventana Wildlife Society, a
leader in the fight to save the condor.
Most of us know dogs best as pets and companions, but for
thousands of years, dogs have helped people with daily tasks such
as herding livestock, hunting for food, or hauling loads.
More recently, dogs have been used to help people with
disabilities, to assist in search and rescue missions, and to
protect the public in partnership with military and law
enforcement units. Some dogs even do unconventional jobs
like helping scientists track endangered species, locating
ancient burial grounds, or alerting wine grape growers to insect
infestations in the vines.
California has been a leader in developing specialized dog
training, and California dogs have served in many capacities
around the nation and the world. Meet a few of them in this
The 2007 California Hall of Fame exhibit includes a striking
40-foot wide display, designed by West Office Exhibition Design
of Oakland, California, that is the focal point of the Museum
lobby. The panel display features large scale portraits of the
inductees, photographs and their biographical information. The
artifact exhibit, located on the second floor, showcases in
greater detail each inductee’s unique contribution.
Celebrating the 2007 California Hall of Fame inductees, this
year’s exhibit includes over a hundred artifacts – many of which
have never been displayed before. Some examples include:
Original prints by Ansel Adams;
One of Milton Berle’s costumes as well as a wind-up toy Berle
A baseball and bat autographed by Willie Mays;
Rita Moreno’s dress from “West Side Story,” as well as her
Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy;
Jonas Salk’s lab equipment, including vials of the polio
vaccine from 1954;
John Steinbeck’s typewriter and original manuscript pages
from “East of Eden;”
Elizabeth Taylor’s costume from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia
Woolf,” for which she won an Oscar;
Earl Warren’s chair as governor of California;
John Wayne film memorabilia, including his boots, hat and
One of the most spectacular homes in the United States is located
on the remote central California coast. Known today as Hearst
Castle, the buildings at San Simeon were the product of a
decades-long collaboration between two remarkable individuals,
publisher William Randolph Hearst and renowned architect Julia
Hearst always called California his favorite place, not only for
its beauty but also for its climate of individualism. Here, he
could follow his own path in life and in business. The results
remain with us. Through the innovations he brought to his
newspapers, through his magazines that still are widely read, and
most visibly through the magnificent buildings he created and art
collection he assembled, Hearst left an indelible imprint on our
This exhibit highlighted some of the treasures that fill Hearst’s
castle at San Simeon. Approximately forty objects were on
display, marking the first time a significant grouping of
artifacts had left the Castle.
The exhibit was presented in partnership with California State
In 1769, Spain began colonizing California, building missions to
convert the indigenous people to Catholicism. As the oldest
buildings in California, the missions continue to captivate the
imagination. Starting in the 1880s, artists began creating
paintings and drawings of weathered adobe walls, red-tiled roofs,
and tranquil arcades that shaped a romantic vision of the
region’s Spanish-era past. Although reality differed from that
vision, the missions did set the course of history during their
65-year heyday, establishing the roots of today’s California,
from its agricultural empires of cattle and grain to its
architecture, cuisine, and place names.
This exhibit presented paintings from the Irvine Museum that
captured a moment in time, as some of California’s finest
Impressionist artists perceived it.
Thompson’s paintings remind the viewer of an era whose exuberant
style reflected confidence in the future and excitement about the
present. The hallmark space-age motifs and colors,
resurrected under the artist’s precise brush, transport us to a
time, real or imagined, when we bought our milk from a dairy and
went bowling after work.
Yet his depiction of broken neon and peeling paint jolts us out
of the past, a reminder that these signs are relics, hanging on
against a modern tide of uniformity. Across America today,
blandly familiar signs greet us – more tasteful perhaps, and
certainly based on more market research – but lacking the
personality and originality of the old signs that Thompson
An original copy of the Declaration of Independence was the
centerpiece of this exhibit.
On the night of July 4, 1776, John Dunlap of Philadelphia printed
approximately 200 copies of the newly drafted and approved
Declaration of Independence. The copies were sent by horseback to
the thirteen colonies and read aloud throughout the new nation.
The Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for personal
freedoms and individual rights in the United States. Beyond
serving as a proclamation of independence from Great Britain, it
set forth ideals for human rights that have become the blueprint
for democracy in America and around the world. Its words
are the basis of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation
and the Bill of Rights.
Only twenty-five copies of this momentous document survive today.
Its stop at The California Museum was the only Northern
California appearance on a nationwide tour of this rare Dunlap
Original cartoons by Pulitzer Prize winners and other noted
artists from across North America poked some lighthearted fun at
California on topics such as the gubernatorial recall, the power
crisis, and our movie star governors. From Gary Trudeau to Pat
Oliphant —and including Sacramento’s own Rex Babin— everyone can
find something to admire —or criticize— in the Golden State.
These mostly pen-and-ink drawings represented a long tradition of
humor. In a section of historical cartoons, visitors could see
how the satirical eye of the editorial cartoonist has focused on
California again and again over the past century.
The exhibit was presented in partnership with the Association of
American Editorial Cartoonists and the Sacramento Bee.