March 21, 2019 – October 20, 2019

Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad

Overland to California draws from the California Historical Society’s vast archival and photographic collections to consider the railroad’s impact on the industry and culture of California. Featuring photographs, stereocards, historical objects, and ephemera, this exhibition explores how rail access to California contributed not only to population growth and industrial development, but also to the construction of the state’s enduring mythology as a tourist destination and land of opportunity. Overland to California will also examine the railroad’s complex labor history, taking into consideration the immigrant populations who built its infrastructure, as well as the scandals surrounding the monopolistic practices of the so-called “Big Four”: Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins.

Learn More

Upcoming Exhibitions

From the Gold Rush to the Earthquake: Selections from the Collection

From the Gold Rush to the Earthquake: Selections from the Collection presents highlights from the California Historical Society’s holdings of paintings, photographs, manuscripts and ephemera. Focusing on key topics in California’s late-nineteenth-century history, the exhibition features selected works from the Gold Rush, the exploration of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and coastal regions, the rise of agriculture and industry in the state, San Francisco’s Chinatown, and the city’s devastating 1906 earthquake and fires.

Read More

The Life and Work of Mabel McKay

The Life and Work of Mabel McKay tells the story of a renowned basket weaver, healer, culture bearer, and inspiration. Mabel McKay (1908-1993) was a member of the Long Valley Cache Creek Pomo tribe from Northern California, and was the last speaker of her language. She was also the last of the Pomo dream doctors, and healed both Native and non-Native patients through traditional medicine. She became widely recognized as one of the greatest basket weavers of the 20th century, and traveled great distances to teach others and share her cultural traditions. McKay lived through almost the entirety of the 20th century, a time period that was often difficult to be California Indian and a woman. Featuring intricately woven baskets, historic photographs, media, and more, this exhibition celebrates her legacy.

Read More