Past Exhibits

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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.

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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. 

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¡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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

Encina photo

Passion & Perseverance:
A Year at Encina

March 1 - Sept. 2, 2018

“Passion & Perseverance: A Year at Encina” is an all new exhibit highlighting stories of dedicated teachers in a low-income school and their students, whose resilience and ability cannot be measured by test scores.

Based on a yearlong series produced by Capital Public Radio, the exhibit explores what the school’s history reveals about California itself, tackling issues of equity, immigration and stigma, as well as the meaning of community and family. 

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The Newest Americans
April 3 - July 29, 2018

“The Newest Americans” offers a unique look at the U.S. and the immigration process through the eyes of 28 new citizens.

A chronicle of two naturalization ceremonies held in 2017, the exhibit features portraits by Sam Comen and interviews by Michael Estrin. As the new citizens from over 20 countries of origin share why they came to this country and what the American Dream means to them, visitors are invited to join them in taking pride in the diversity, freedom and opportunity that continue to make America a beacon of hope around the world.

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And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations
February 6 - May 27, 2018

“And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations” explores 400 years of significant events that have transformed social justice for African Americans on 67 story quilts hand-crafted by artists in the Women of Color Quilter’s Network.

Curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and organized by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center, this national traveling exhibition showcases the diversity of techniques and textiles used in quilting, and its enduring appeal as forms of folk art and narrative storytelling.

Kokoro encore photograph

Kokoro: The Story of Sacramento’s Lost Japantown
Encore Presentation January 16 - March 11, 2018

Back by popular demand, “Kokoro: The Story of Sacramento’s Lost Japantown” surveying the experiences of local Japanese Americans in the 20th century returned for an unprecedented second installation at the California Museum Jan. 16 through Mar. 11, 2018.

Featuring rare family photographs drawn from community members’ personal collections, the acclaimed exhibit documents the memories at the heart of a once-thriving downtown community devastated first by forced removal during WWII and again by redevelopment in the 1950s.

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Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change
Oct. 31, 2017 - Jan. 21, 2018

“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” addresses the effects of changing weather patterns on a universal symbol of the Golden State’s beauty: the wildflower.

Through a display of more than 45 landscape photographs by Bay Area-based photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter, this traveling exhibition is a visual survey of California’s diverse and delicately-balanced ecosystems that reveals the effects of global warming and other human impacts on our native plants.

"Light & Noir" exhibit entry photo

Light & Noir: Exiles & Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950
May 16 - Oct. 15, 2017

Organized by the Skirball Cultural Center in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “Light & Noir: Exiles & Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950″ highlights the history of émigrés in the American film industry who fled Europe as refugees of Nazi persecution and their legacy in American cinema and culture through achievements in the film noir genre and classic films, such as “Casablanca” (1942), “Double Indemnity” (1944), “Mildred Pierce” (1945), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950) and more.