Past Exhibits

native printmaker

Metaphor, Myth, & Politics: Art From Native Printmakers
November 25, 2022 - April 23, 2023

Vibrant works of art reveal contemporary Native and Indigenous printmakers’ diverse styles and perspectives.

“Metaphor, Myth, & Politics: Art from Native Printmakers” features 36 contemporary works on paper by 29 Native and Indigenous artists from California and around the world. The colorful and inventive pieces, all drawn from the C.N. Gorman Museum’s collection at UC Davis, reveal the diverse points of view and styles of art present in the world of contemporary Native printmaking.


The Negro Motorist Green Book
December 4, 2021 - March 2, 2022

Journey through stories of African American community, business innovation and creative self-determination in The Negro Motorist Green Book.

This traveling exhibition offers visitors an immersive look at travel during the era of Jim Crow, revealing how the guide was an indispensable resource for the nation’s rising African American middle and business classes.

Exhibit photo

Día de Los Muertos 2021: Espíritus Creativos de California
October 2 – November 7, 2021

Celebrating the state’s spirit of creativity, “Día de Los Muertos 2021: Espíritus Creativos de California” (“Day of the Dead 2021: Creative Spirits of California”) honored innovative Californians Eazy-E, Carrie Fisher, Ishi, Charles M. Schulz and John Steinbeck through original works by California artists Roberta Alvarado, Francisco Franco, John Hancock and Juan Ramos of John Juan Art, John S.

Exhibit photo

Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit 2021
August 5 – November 7, 2021

The updated traveling photography exhibit “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” returned for a second installation at the California Museum August 5 through November 7, 2021.

A visual exploration of the Japanese concept of “gambatte” (or to triumph over adversity), it featured contemporary photographs of Japanese Americans who survived mass incarceration during WWII taken by photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. of The Sacramento Bee, paired with historic images by U.S. War Relocation Authority photographers including Dorothea Lange.

Exhibition photo

Yosemite People
November 5, 2020 - June 27, 2021

“Yosemite People” is a traveling photography exhibition chronicling the people who live, work and visit Yosemite National Park.

Developed by Exhibit Envoy and photographer Jonas Kulikauskas, the exhibition offers visitors a unique look at the complex and contradictory relationships between the park’s natural wonders and its inhabitants.

On view at the California Museum from November 5, 2020, through June 27, 2021, in recognition of the park’s 130th anniversary.

Exhibit photo

Small as a GIANT
January 20 - March 15, 2020

This temporary exhibition featured the stories of California teens sentenced to life in prison before the age of 18 through original works by artist and activist Ise Lyfe.

Lyfe spent the last two years visiting inmates in prison and formerly-incarcerated people on location throughout California, collecting photographs and video that chronicle the impact of adult sentencing on youth. 

Exhibit text

¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege
July 25 - December 29, 2019

“¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege” explores the historic censorship, whitewashing, neglect and destruction of Southern California murals from the 1960s and 1970s Chicana/o Movement. Used to express pride and frustration and to challenge the status quo, the murals gave the Mexican American community a voice during an era of limited representation.

Exhibit photo

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en Los Campos
March 9 – July 7, 2019

Making its debut at the California Museum, “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en Los Campos” is a new traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution exploring the life and legacy of the legendary Latina activist who broke barriers for more than six decades, starting with her work advocating for farm workers’ rights in the 1960s and 1970s.

Exhibit photo

Toyo Miyatake: Behind the Glass Eye
January 11 - April 19, 2020

This temporary exhibition chronicles the life and work of Los Angeles-based photographer Toyo Miyatake (1895-1979). A leading artist in Little Tokyo community prior to WWII, Miyatake was incarcerated at Manzanar, where he documented iconic images of life for Japanese Americans during WWII behind barbed wire. 

Exhibit photo

The Sikh Project
October 27, 2018 – March 10, 2019

Sikhs have been part of the fabric of America for over a century. Though subject to racism and violence since they first immigrated to the U.S., Sikh Americans have experienced increased hate crimes, discrimination, bullying and racial profiling since 9/11.

The Sikh Coalition’s national traveling exhibit “The Sikh Project” challenged misconceptions and bigotry through photographs and accompanying stories capturing the beauty and diversity of the Sikh community in the United States.

Portraits by British photographers Amit and Naroop on display featured several California Sikhs, including a third-generation farmer, a violinist and one of the longest-serving turbaned law enforcement officers in the U.S.

The exhibit was presented in recognition of November’s California Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.

Exhibit photo

October 12 - December 9, 2018

Opening at the Museum’s Día de Los Muertos Fiesta  on Fri., Oct. 12,​ “Celebración de Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2018” (“Soul Celebration: Day of the Dead 2018”) is a new exhibit featuring original art and contemporary altar installations by California artists Francisco Franco, John S. Huerta and Rob-O of I Love Sugar Skulls.

A journey through life, love and death, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern-day Mexico and California.

Members of the public are also invited to remember a lost loved one by leaving a tribute in the exhibit’s Community Altar.

Rex Babin editorial cartoon image

Drawing Caleeforneeya:
1999 – 2012

August 14 – October 14, 2018

“Drawing Caleeforneeya” was a retrospective exhibit exploring the work of editorial cartoonist Rex Babin (1962 – 2012) open August 14 through October 14, 2018.

Through his pen-and ink drawings, keen observations and sharp wit, Babin captured the essence of many distinctive California topics from 1999 to 2012 during his tenure at The Sacramento Bee. From the power crisis and gubernatorial recall to the environment and more, Babin’s original cartoons remind us there is always something to admire — or criticize — in the Golden State.