California may bring to mind pictures of beaches and Hollywood but there’s actually a lot more. Take for instance, the California State Capitol, home to the government administration and a veritable artifact of the state’s rich history. Visitors have a chance to see lawmaking in the process as well as witness the past interact with the present through the Capitol Museum.
Relish the neoclassical architecture atop the cupola and double dome and basement rotunda. The whole Capitol is replete with examples of fine artistry and a unique style that makes the architecture distinctly Californian. Take for instance, the Great Seal. After a huge debate, it was decided that the image of Goddess Minerva would be used because Minerva was born fully grown. Similarly, California became a state without first having been a territory. Today, the Seal is used on all official documents as well as bills and even on every California driver’s license. Needless to say, it is an important part of the museum’s architecture.
Another stunning part of the building are the marble mosaic floors on the second storey. Though the building is as old as 1860, the marble floors were as recently installed as 1906. A contrasting grey and peach background sets into motion red, yellow, and gold marble borders. A golden poppy adorns the corners and centre of each section. Have you ever seen a floor dancing? Well, this visual imagery will make you sway to its rhythms.
Next in line: Eureka! Yes you have found it. This is the official California state motto and therefore, has found an intrinsic place in the building architecture. The first floor of the Capitol has four enormous tile groups that feature Minerva seated with a Californian grizzly bear. The word ‘Eureka’ is mentioned in the picture. These tile groups are located in the south and north hallways. Since these tiles are reproductions, the originals can be found in the Eureka room, located in the basement of the Capitol.
A tour of the Capitol is incomplete without a visit to the priceless art gallery. The East Annex, the Capitol’s Art Program and the West Wing of the building maintain 3 collections: the Loan Collection, the Permanent Collection and the Biennial Senate Contemporary Art Collection. Be enchanted by hundreds of prized statues, murals, paintings and even antique furniture, that showcase the rich history of California.
Take a stroll through the History section and travel back to a time of great tribulation in the state. Early statehood accompanied by the demands of a rapidly developing democracy and the lack of space highlighted the state’s need for leadership. As such, the Capitol was housed in different cities of California for 5 years before, finally, Sacramento took over. This turbulent time in the state’s history has also been accurately presented in the preservation and restoration of historic rooms in the West Wing. Particularly interesting are the Governor’s Private Office, the Legislative Bill Room and the Archive Exhibit Room.
Also, while you are here, don’t forget to experience the lush gardens of California’s crown jewel. About 40 acres of dreamy meadows, exquisite trees, exquisite memorials and unique shrubs, flower and cactus specimens await you. This is one Elysian field you would love to remain in.
California State Capitol Museum Map
California State Capitol Museum Facts
- The Capitol Park consists of some important memorial stones.The California Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains bronze statues of military men and women killed in the Vietnam War, along with name engravings of Californian soldiers killed or missing in action.
- A granite obelisk, called The California Veterans Memorial honors the soldiers killed in the Civil War, Spanish American War, Mexican-American War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and the Korean War.
- Father Junipero Serra was a Roman Catholic sent by the Spanish to help in the colonisation of California. His life-size statue now adorns the gardens of the Capitol with a list of 21 missions of the state, from San Diego to Sonoma.
- In 1897, the Civil War Memorial Grove was planted to commemorate the War. It consists of saplings from different Civil War battlefields.
Where Is California State Capitol Museum?
The California State Capitol is located at 10th and L Streets at Sacramento, California. The ADA accessible entrance is on 11th and L Streets. The Museum is located at Room B-27 of the State Capitol Building. It is accessible both by subway and roads. However beware of traffic. Sacramento has some of the worst records in road traffic.
Best Time To Visit
Sacramento is one of the hottest cities in United States. The region does not get a lot of rainfall. Summers and spring are warm while fall and winter are relatively cool. You are advised to wear layered clothing.
California State Capitol Museum Hours
The California State Capitol Museum is open from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 5 pm on weekends. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Admission is free. In fact, it is also possible to get guided tours for school and group tours. Just make sure you reserve your appointment by calling Reserve America at (866) 240-4655. Public tours are also conducted daily, by the hour, from 9 am to 4 pm. You can get more information from the Tours Office located at B-27 of Basement room of the building. In fact, the basement also has a theatre where films are shown daily for free. Restaurants are also located in the basement and sixth floors where you can linger awhile after a hard day of roaming the Capitol grounds. To learn more about museums, check Best Museums in the US.
California State Capitol Museum Address
10th and L Streets, State Capitol
Room B-27, 1315 10th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
More on California State Capitol Museum
Nearby Attractions : Crest Theatre, The California Museum, Sacramento Zoo, California State Railroad Museum