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Collections

CSH is the official archives for the city and county of Sacramento, with public records dating back to 1849. The Center also houses personal collections, photographs, films, and artifacts pertaining to the social, political, geographic, and cultural history of the Sacramento region. Items in our collection are accessible for research or use in films, books, articles, and other media.

Finding aids to our collections can be found on our Online Archive of California page.

If you have material you’d like to donate, see our Donations page for more information.

Archival Collections

Our archival collections include a mix of government records and personal papers.

Government documents from the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County date back to 1849 and include civil, criminal and probate court case files; naturalization papers; assessor, recorder, and clerk records; and records from the city council, county board of supervisors, coroner, law enforcement, and most other city and county departments. For a general overview of our government holdings, see For the Record. Digitized government documents can be found on our Internet Archive page. 

Personal papers represent prominent citizens and everyday people and document life, education, and business in Sacramento and Sacramento County. These collections come from a range of individuals, families, businesses, schools, cultural institutions, and social organizations.

Photographs

New World

Our collections include more than seven million images in a variety of photographic types and processes, from daguerreotypes to digital images. We are especially proud of our collections from local photographers that document Sacramento's origins as a small riverfront town to the burgeoning state capital. More than 60,000 photographs are digitized and available for viewing on our online catalogClick here to learn how to get reproductions of our images.

Moving Images

The Center houses a large collection of moving images in film, video, and digital formats. The largest portion comes from the KCRA-TV and KOVR-TV film collections, both of which contain raw news footage and edited programs dating from the late 1950s into the 1980s. Other major collections include local feature and advertising production companies Alexander Media Services Inc. and Steve LaRosa Productions; KVIE’s Good Old Days series; Harold N. Ouye family home movies; and multimedia artist and Sacramento City College professor Darrell Forney. Digitized film, including news film and home movies, can be found on our Internet Archive page. Click here to learn how to license our footage for you project.

Recorded Sound

Our recorded sound collections include oral histories, radio broadcasts, local music recordings, and recorded public meeting minutes on a variety of media. Oral histories include the Sacramento Ethnic Communities Survey, Japanese World War II internees, Natomas residents, the American Association of University Women, and Valley Broadcast Legends. Digitized audio can be found on our Internet Archive page and at the individual links above.

Artifacts

The museum collection features nearly 30,000 artifacts documenting the cultural, social, political, and economic history of the people who have lived, played, and worked in the Sacramento region. It includes household items, furniture, toys, quilts, and clothing; occupational items like farm tools, office equipment, dredging machinery, photography equipment, and works of art; and other artifacts from our past, like neon signs from area businesses, horse-drawn carriages, a 1903 curved-dash Oldsmobile, printing presses, and remnants of buildings torn down during redevelopment projects, such as a complete flat from the Merrium Apartments. More than 6,000 cataloged artifacts can be viewed on our online catalog.

Beer Tray

The Sacramento History Museum in Old Sacramento is the primary exhibition venue for the CSH museum collection. Other temporary exhibitions are located at the Sacramento International Airport, City Hall, and Offices of the City Clerk and Mayor.

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