The California Hall of Fame was established in 2006 by the Museum and former First Lady Maria Shriver to honor legendary people who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history. Inductees come from all walks of life and have made distinguished achievements across a variety fields, including the arts, education, business and labor, science, sports, philanthropy and public service.
As the Museum’s signature program, the California Hall of Fame serves three distinct purposes for the institution:
Annual gala raising funds for all of the Museum’s operations, exhibits and programs for the year;
Landmark exhibit inspiring visitors through a display of personal artifacts on loan from inductees;
Learning program educating over 100,000 visitors annually with the diverse stories of inductees’ achievements across key fields of interest
Additionally, induction into the California Hall of Fame is an official award from the Governor of California given in an official State of California ceremony. Inductees are presented with Spirit of California medal by the Governor, and their accomplishments are made permanent record in the California State Archives.
Developed under a Native tribal advisory council over a two year period, “California Indians: Making A Difference” is the only exhibit of its kind created in Native voice representing over 100 tribes across the state.
The 3,000-square foot gallery showcases the unique contributions of the state’s Native peoples through artifacts, art, 13 oral histories at 6 video stations and an interactive Native language kiosk. Over 400 artifacts — many of which have never publicly viewed before — are on display.
Utilizing the voices and experiences of the state’s Native peoples, the exhibit presents stories of adaptation and triumph that ultimately reveal California Indians have not only survived but continue to thrive in the state’s constantly changing conditions.
California has always been replete with remarkable women. As community leaders and activists, inventors and entertainers, as mothers, daughters, sisters and partners, California’s remarkable women serve 24/7 on the front lines of humanity.
Extraordinary women from every walk of life strengthen, shape and serve our great state. This exhibit honors their significant roles and achievements, drawing its inspiration from past and present achievements of California women. In doing so, it delivers an energetic message about the limitless opportunities and possibilities awaiting present and future generations of women leaders.
From farm worker organizer Dolores Huerta to astronaut Sally Ride to designer Ray Eames, the exhibit includes approximately 200 remarkable California women. Inspired by former First Lady Maria Shriver, the exhibit is presented in partnership with California State Parks.
Towering six stories over the courtyard, Constitution Wall features sculpted words taken from the California Constitution chosen for their meanings to inspire reflection on the freedoms guaranteed to all Californians by viewers.
Depending on the angle of the light and the time of day, different words become more prominent. The word “RIGHTS,” which is the underlying theme of the piece, stands out more in the late morning and early afternoon, while “redress” and “assemble” are more apparent at midday.
In addition to varied reliefs, the words are punctuated by the wall’s color scheme, as drawn from California’s landscape palette of forest, ocean and desert hues. Metal oxides embedded in the wall’s surface colors change over time, ensuring that the Wall is constantly evolving like the Constitution itself.
Designed by artists Mike Mandel, Larry Sultan and Paul Kos, Constitution Wall was built by Frederick Meiswinkel Inc. in collaboration with Esherick, Homsey, Dodge & Davis. The sculpture was funded in part by the California Arts Council’s Art in Public Buildings program.
Did you know your zip code can predict how long and how well you live? Learn why in the all-new multimedia exhibit “Health Happens Here.”
Discover what Californians are doing to build health in communities across the state in this interactive journey through all the places and all the ways health happens in California. Through a series of high-tech games and interactive stations, visitors explore key factors that affect health beyond traditional diet and exercise while earning points that can be donated to 1 of 10 charities to make health happen for all Californians.
The Museum’s longest running exhibit, “Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII” surveys a century of Japanese American history in California through the personal stories of formerly interned Californians.
Although Japanese immigrants and their American-born children established businesses, built thriving communities and contributed to the state’s prosperity, they began to face hostility and discrimination following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The tension came to head when President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese American citizens by signing Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. Under the order, local military commanders were able to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones,” from which “any or all persons may be excluded,” which cleared the way for the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. By the spring of 1942, Japanese Americans were forced to relocate to “Assembly Centers” and were eventually moved to “War Relocation Centers” across the West like Manzanar and Tule Lake in California.
Following the history of the Japanese Americans in California, visitors experience life behind barbed wire in recreated barracks, which displays photographs and artifacts from the Japanese American Archival Collection at California State University, Sacramento. Continuing through the 1980s, the exhibit also chronicles how former internees overcame the hardships of the internment and worked to establish their lives, their communities and redress for their losses after the war.
Each winter, the Museum offers an education program about the internment, led by people who experienced it personally. For more information, please visit the “Time of Remembrance” page.
An all new exhibit, “We Are All Californians: Stories of Modern Immigration” examines the journeys of immigrants to the Golden State in the 21st century.
Through first-person narratives presented on an interactive 20-ft. multimedia wall, the personal stories of documented and undocumented immigrants from countries around the globe including Mexico, Ukraine, Cambodia and more explore how immigrants pursue the California dream, revealing how the changing face of California will shape the state’s future.