The Center for Sacramento History as an exhibitor at Family History Day at the California State Archives.
Founded in 1953, the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) is funded by the City and the County of Sacramento and is the repository and research center for City and County historic collections. These collections are held in the public trust and reflect the many aspects of the social, economic, political, geographic, and cultural history of the Sacramento region.
CSH holds in trust some 30,000 three-dimensional museum artifacts which include household items, furniture, toys, quilts, and textiles and accessories. The working life of Sacramentans, from miners and farmers to artists, merchants and clerks, is represented in farming tools, office equipment, dredging machinery, photography equipment, and works of art. The Center’s museum artifacts are exhibited at community sites, such as Sacramento City Hall, Sacramento Public Library, and the Sacramento International Airport, as well as at the Sacramento History Museum.
Archival Collections – Public Documents
CSH’s public documents date from 1849 and provide users with the most complete set of local public documents of any archives in California. By statute of both the City and County of Sacramento, the Center is the official repository for public documents of enduring value created by city and county government, as well as the Superior Court of Sacramento County. The documents are transferred to the Center on an ongoing basis under city and county records retention schedules. These records include maps, court case files, minutes, permits, contracts, correspondence, and reports, amongst numerous other documents.
Archival Collections – Manuscripts and Personal Papers
The Center actively collects manuscripts and personal papers of individuals, families, businesses, organizations, and community groups that illustrate the diverse and dynamic history of the Sacramento region. These collections provide unique and vital insights into the past and work in conjunction with the public documents to offer broader details about the region.
Photographs and Moving Images
Impressive in both size and scope, the photographic collections at the Center amount to more than five million images and include a variety of photographic types and processes. The wide array of historic images, range from the earliest known daguerreotype of Sacramento to contemporary views that capture the development of the Sacramento region and the individuals and groups who have populated the area.
CSH houses a large collection of moving images in film, video, and digital formats. The largest portion comes from KCRA, the Sacramento NBC affiliate, with over nine million feet of news film from 1958 to 1982. The collection covers the day-to-day news stories – politics, crime, local events, sports, and human interest stories – occurring in northern California and the Sacramento region, as well as political figures like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Cesar Chavez, and the Black Panthers.
CSH’s online database provides access to over 60,000 entries, including over 50,000 images. The online catalog allows patrons to place reproduction orders, leave feedback for CSH staff, and send search results directly to any email address.
Note that not all of CSH’s holdings are searchable via this online catalog. Please contact CSH Staff if you are unable to find what you are searching for.
CSH is open for research by appointment only. Please call (916) 808-7072 to speak with an archivist about scheduling an appointment to conduct your research during available times. It is advisable to call at least one week in advance for an appointment as there are limited spaces in the reading room.
The Center does not charge fees for on-site users to conduct research; however it does charge for reproduction services and rights. CSH staff is on hand to assist researchers in the use of the materials during their appointment time. Please notify CSH beforehand if special accommodations are needed during your visit.
For a current list of research times and reproduction services and costs, visit www.centerforsacramentohistory.org.
The Center offers reproductions of historic maps, images, and other unique history-related products for purchase at www.zazzle.com/sacramentohistory. All product sales help CSH carry out its mission to preserve, exhibit, and make accessible the history of the Sacramento region.
The Center seeks out committed volunteers/interns with an interest in history or work experience in museums, libraries or archives. While CSH accepts applications from all who wish to apply, securing a position depends on current openings and staff commitments. It is required that volunteers give at least a four hour block of time each week; internship requirements are dictated by the intern’s graduate program. Interested persons should contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (916) 808-7072.
The Center accepts permanent donations of artifacts and documents in any format that relate to the history of the Sacramento region. Materials need not be monetarily valuable, organized, “old” or related to a prominent entity or event in order to be historically significant. While the Center cannot accept everything that may be offered, it welcomes the opportunity to review material. Donors should contact the Center at (916) 808-7072.
The Center for Sacramento History’s mission as a public agency is to illuminate and promote the exploration and analysis of the social, political, geographic, and cultural history of the City and County of Sacramento from their founding to the present, by collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and making accessible the documentary and material culture of the diverse region.
Center for Sacramento History
551 Sequoia Pacific Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95811-0229
TEL (916) 808-7072
FAX (916) 808-7582
Find us under “Sacramento History” on Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.
Administration Hours:Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed during noon hour).
Parking is free and plentiful.
The Center for Sacramento History, a joint Sacramento city/county agency, is the historical research center for the Sacramento region.
Posted by Lois Shumaker.