Transition Announcement

March 2023

Dear Friends,

Out of necessity, the pandemic required us to explore novel ways to connect with you and further share the important voices and stories from California’s history. Some of those initiatives, like our very popular live webinars, have proven to bring new, diverse audiences to CHS from around the state and world. 

Other lingering impacts from the pandemic, including the general lack of economic recovery in downtown San Francisco and greatly reduced numbers of visitors to our neighborhood, continue to pose significant challenges to our ability to operate at pre-pandemic levels. And with the sudden passing away of CHS’s Executive Director & CEO Alicia L. Goehring last August, we have had to put on hold our pursuit of her ambitious vision for the History and Education Field Services Initiative while the Board of Trustees evaluates next steps for CHS.

During this interim period, CHS staff will be exploring ways to improve public access to the CHS collections, reconfiguring membership benefits, and reassessing our retail strategy. Meanwhile, we will continue to host live webinars, welcome researchers in person to the North Baker Research Library, and produce our newsletters, blogs, and social media content. As a part of this process, we have decided to temporarily close our galleries and store and instead are offering a new kind of exhibition.

We are pleased to share that our next exhibition will be offered directly to the public, for free. Rare, Historical and Curious: Selections from the California Historical Society Collections will consider how objects and artifacts provide a window to history. Taking advantage of CHS’s prime location in the heart of the Yerba Buena cultural district, the show will appear in our street-level windows along Mission and Annie Streets. To prepare for this new installation, the CHS galleries and retail store will close at the end of March. The Rare, Historical, and Curious exhibition is slated to open in April 2023.

We will be sharing more news in the coming months. We thank you for your support in the past and hope we can continue to rely on it during this transition period. Your support inspires and enables us to continue to do the work that we do. 


Tony Gonzalez
Chair, Board of Trustees
Jen Whitley
Interim CEO