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Museum History

The California Museum opened in 1998 through a partnership with the State of California as a private non-profit institution focused on California history and culture. Conceived by California Secretary of State March Fong Eu and developed under the auspices of the Secretary of State’s office, the Museum was originally created to be the public showplace for contents of the California State Archives.

In 2004, former First Lady Maria Shriver began working with the Museum to expand its vision and mission, opening “California’s Remarkable Women” as the first of her many collaborative efforts with the Museum. Since then, the Museum’s exhibitions have continued to emphasize stories that reflect all aspects of California’s diverse population and culture, with an emphasis on the contributions of women and under-represented groups.

In 2006, Shriver and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger became Honorary Co-Chairs of the Museum and launched the California Hall of Fame as the Museum’s annual gala and an official award from the Governor of California.

During their administration, former Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown worked with the Museum in the selection of California Hall of Fame inductees, bringing their appreciation of California history and the educational mission of the Museum to their honorary position.

Today, the Museum collaborates with Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom to present the California Hall of Fame and on exhibits and programs showcasing the contributions of California women.