Museum History

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Museum History

The California Museum opened on Sept. 9, 1998 through a unique partnership with the State of California as a private non-profit institution focused on California history and culture. Under the development of the Secretary of State’s office, the Museum was created to be the public showplace for contents of the the California State Archives.

In 2003, former First Lady Maria Shriver began working with the Museum to expand its vision and mission. In 2004, “California’s Remarkable Women” opened as the first of her many collaborative efforts with the Museum. Since then, the Museum’s exhibitions have continued to emphasize stories not presented to reflect all aspects of California’s diverse population and culture,  with an emphasis on the contributions of women and under-represented groups.

In 2006, former First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger became Honorary Co-Chairs of the Museum and co-designed the California Hall of Fame as the Museum’s annual gala and an official award from the Governor of California.

In 2011 after the change of administration, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown became Honorary Co-Chairs of The California Museum and the California Hall of Fame. As active leaders, the Governor and First Lady continue to work with the Museum in the selection of California Hall of Fame inductees and bring their appreciation of California history and the educational mission of the Museum to their honorary position.