Special Exhibits

  • Out of the Vault: Treasures From Your California State Library
  • Called to Action - WW2
  • 1915 Exposition
  • The Dust Bowl
The museum exhibit will be open May 30th, 2016 - April 23, 2017. You can view portions of the exhibit materials on our exhibit website "Out of the Vault: Treasures From Your California State Library"!

Past exhibit: California Invites the World: 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

1915 Panama Pacific Exposition exhibit posterThe late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the golden age for the great world’s fair expositions. The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was no exception. Before there was Disneyland, there was an earlier “magic kingdom.” The San Francisco exposition was known by many names: “The Dream City,” “The City of Domes,” and “The Jewel City.” It celebrated not only the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, but the rebirth of San Francisco after the devastating 1906 earthquake.

Between February 20 and December 4, 1915, over 19 million people flocked from all over the world to the marvels it contained. The 650-acre world’s fair was constructed to stand for less than a year, and today, all that remains is the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District.

Visitors to the State Capitol Museum had the opportunity to view rarely displayed items from the fair that come from the special collections of the California State Library.

These included hundreds of never-before-seen photographs. A copy of a sculpture that graced the Exposition, Adolph Weinman’s “Night Descending” will also be on display, courtesy of Hearst Castle. There was numerous charming and delightful pieces on loan from private collections as well. One of the three exhibit rooms at the State Capitol Museum featured seldom seen period films and photographic slide shows. For more information, call (916) 324-2088.

1915 Panama Pacific Exposition display

Past exhibit: The Dust Bowl, California, and the Politics of Hard Times

In the 1930s, a series of severe dust storms swept across the mid-west states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas. The storms, years of drought, and the Great Depression devastated the lives of residents living in those Dust Bowl states. Three hundred thousand of the stricken people packed up their belongings and drove to California. “The Dust Bowl, California, and the Politics of Hard Times” was exhibited at The California State Capitol Museum on June 17, 2013, until May 15, 2014.

This exhibit examines the cultural, social, and political impact the Dust Bowl migrants had on California. The photographs of Dorothea Lange, songs and lyrics of Woody Guthrie, and storytelling genius of John Steinbeck bring the era and people to life with their dramatic and poignant styles. Two California governors and their administrations grappled with the influx of the hundreds of thousands who flooded the state throughout the 1930s. The great Dust Bowl migration transformed and reshaped California for years to come.

Visit The Museum

California State Capitol Museum
10th and L Streets
State Capitol
Room B-27
1315 10th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-0333
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Volunteer information

Weekdays 8 am - 5 pm
Weekends 9 am - 5 pm
Admission is free
Tours available hourly 9 am - 4 pm
Groups by reservation

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