In addition to the Museum’s signature exhibits, the Museum produces 6-7 short-term exhibits highlighting people, places and stories not commonly known. Short-term exhibits currently on display include:
Based on Susan Snyder’s 2004 book of the same name published by Heyday Books, “Bear In Mind: The Story of the California Grizzly” is a traveling exhibit chronicling the complex history of the state’s most iconic symbol, the grizzly.
Once the most powerful animal in the state’s landscape, the grizzly has been extinct in California since the 1920s but lives on as a steadfast symbol, reflecting the spirit of independence, strength and adaptability the state is world-renowned for. Through artifacts and ephemera on loan from institutions including The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, the California State Library and the California Academy of Sciences, the exhibit reveals the grizzly’s enduring cultural legacy over the last 200 years that continues to embody California’s ideals in the 21st century.
Produced and toured by Exhibit Envoy, the exhibit was developed in partnership by The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and Heyday Books, with support from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Bank of the West.
Featuring artifacts from the personal collections of owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, this all new exhibit explores the career of California Chrome, the California-bred horse who capped a six-race winning streak by sweeping the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Through the installation of never-before-publicly-displayed items including the 2014 Kentucky Derby Trophy, the exhibit chronicles the rise of “the people’s horse” from his humble foaling at Harris Ranch in Coalinga, CA to his ranking as the 2014 American Horse of the Year.
In addition, highlights of the state’s long association with the sport are chronicled, including the nation’s oldest racetrack in Pleasanton built in 1858; the symbol of American hope during the Great Depression, Seabiscuit; and more.
Featuring the work of Tulare County-based photographer Matt Black, “Kingdom of Dust: Drought & Decline in California’s Central Valley” is a visual exploration of a place seemingly light years away from the California most of the world sees.
Black’s stark photographs, taken over a period of 20 years, capture the poverty that long has plagued many Valley towns and reveal the more recent human costs of the worst drought in the state’s history. From Tulare County residents struggling to cope without running water in their homes to out-of-work farm migrants living in Fresno County homeless camps eerily reminiscent of the 1930s, the exhibit reveals how the drought has compounded some of the state’s most entrenched poverty and threatens to turn productive farmland into a modern day dust bowl.