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 the current class of 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.
Initially developed under the direction of a Native Advisory Council in 2011, “California Indians: The First People” is the only exhibit of its kind in the state to present the unique contributions of California’s Native Peoples in their own voice.
Through artifacts, original art, oral histories and an interactive language kiosk, the exhibit chronicles the histories and cultural legacies of over 100 tribes. Highlights include the Chipped Stone Bear, California’s official prehistoric artifact; baskets woven by Native artists; a fur cape owned by Ishi; and more.
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 Promise” is a 70’ mural by Los Angeles-based artist George Yepes illustrating California’s transformation into the 31st state in the United States. Created for the Museum’s opening in 1998, the mural took Yepes more than seven months to paint. It is installed on a vaulted ceiling on the Museum’s first floor.
The Sesquicentennial Quilt was created by the California Heritage Quilt Project to honor California’s 150th anniversary of U.S. statehood in 2000.
Featuring vignettes depicting unique characteristics of the state’s 58 counties, the quilt was hand-stitched by more than 230 applique artists across California under the guidance of lead designers Ellen Heck and Zena Thorpe and organizer Helen Powell.
The Unity Center at the California Museum celebrates the state’s diverse people, customs and cultures.
Initiated in 1999 in response to a series of Northern California hate crimes, the Center’s interactive multimedia exhibits highlight leaders in the state’s rich civil rights history and encourage visitors to find common ground while embracing their own individuality.
Through advocacy tools and engaging educational programs, visitors are empowered to be Unity Activists, exercising their rights and standing up for the rights of others – regardless of belief, background, identity or gender.
The Museum’s longest running exhibit, “Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII,” surveys a century of Japanese American history in California.
Japanese immigrants and their American-born children overcame racial prejudice as they established businesses and farms, built thriving communities and contributed to the state’s prosperity. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they faced increased hostility and discrimination.