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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) a museum or an archive?

CSH is a historical research center for the Sacramento region. While it maintains museum and archival collections, making them available for study and exhibition, it does not currently maintain on-site permanent display areas as is traditionally found at a museum. The Center's staff does create exhibitions and displays; however they are primarily exhibited at the Sacramento History Museum and public display areas of local government buildings.

The Center is the official repository for the archival, or non-current, records of the City and County of Sacramento; the preservation of these public documents is often required by state and federal law. The Center also maintains privately donated manuscripts and personal papers from individuals, businesses, and organizations in the community. The Center's museum collections are artifacts, or three-dimensional objects, which also document the lives and activities of the residents of the Sacramento region.

What is an archives?

Archives is a collective noun, correctly used in the plural. It can have three possible meanings: the materials comprising the collections; the place or building housing the collections; and the agency maintaining the administration of the collections. Primarily archives collect and maintain historical records and manuscripts. Archivists catalog these historical materials by respective "collection" and not by subject as is typical at libraries. As archives are made up of unique, one-of-a-kind materials, their use is more restricted than library material. Use of the Center's archival holdings is by appointment only and done on-site under the supervision of the archivists.

How can I conduct research at CSH?

In person or on-site research is by appointment only. 

Does it cost to conduct research at CSH?

The Center does not charge fees for on-site users to conduct research; however it does charge for reproduction services and rights. For those unable to visit CSH, staff provides one hour reference service at no cost. Any additional time is $50.00 an hour.

Can I volunteer or complete an internship at CSH?

Yes, the Center accepts volunteers and interns. Read more about how to apply to be a volunteer or student intern. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator about volunteer opportunities and any additional questions you might have.

How can I support the CSH?

The Sacramento History Alliance serves as the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraising arm for the Center for Sacramento History and accepts gifts from donors interested in supporting the Center. We look forward to your support.

Can I donate items to CSH?

Yes, the Center accepts donations of collections that meet specific criteria. Foremost, the items must adhere to the Center's mission statement, relate to the history of the Sacramento region, be in good condition, and not duplicative of material already held in our collections. The Center collects personal papers, business and institutional records along with artifacts and ephemera. 

Please do not mail or drop off items without first contacting the Center.

Can the Center appraise my antique/collectible?

The staff at the Center is unable to provide appraisals of your antique or collectible. Please contact your local antique dealer or appraiser listed in the yellow pages under "antiques," "auctions," or "appraisers." You may also consult the published directories from the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.