State Indian Museum

SIM 1940 
The State Indian Museum's 1940 adobe

A visit to the State Indian Museum is an inspiring and memorable experience. The only museum designed to represent the great diversity of California's tribal groups, the State Indian Museum is honored to showcase an abundance of diverse cultural items, including a Yurok redwood canoe, three one-millimeter-sized baskets by Pomo master weaver Mabel McKay, and the work of contemporary Maidu artist Harry Fonseca.

The museum tells the story of California's first inhabitants—here for thousands of years before the onslaught of explorers, Spanish missions, settlers, and Gold Rush fortune seekers brought destruction to their traditional way of life. Learn about the people who shared the native environment for centuries, and their understanding and use of California's natural resources. View some of the most amazing Indian cultural items of the 19th century, and learn about the people today—where they live, and how they make California their home in the 21st century.

SIM today
The State Indian Museum today

The landscape surrounding the museum is rich with California native plants. View soaproot, used for centuries as a washing agent, and tule for making baskets, homes, boats and mats. Observe redbud in bloom, or maidenhair fern, both traditional basket materials. Elderberry, long used for musical instruments like flutes and clappersticks, also flourishes. Learn about the Nisenan Maidu and Miwok peoples who called this area home for centuries, and the nearby village sites where they lived.

California Indian people are alive and well, enjoying life in cities and counties throughout the state. Until the advent of Indian gaming, social and political issues that concerned them often remained invisible to the general public. Progress is being mad toward reestablishing a land base, federal recognition, cultural revitalization, and in acquiring the basic inalienable rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The museum provides an opportunity for people to engage the Indian community and learn about their unique story of life.

Future home of the California Indian Heritage Center

Exiting news! Plans are underway to construct the California Indian Heritage Center at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers in West Sacramento. This California State Parks project, with conceptual "seeds" going back to 1991, was officially established via Senate Bill 2063 in 2002. This provided for a task force, including California natives, to advise regarding development, location, design, content, and governance of the facility. Created to foster preservation and promote restoration of California Indian culture, this center will serve as a gathering place for Indian and non-Indian peoples may study and enjoy many facets of Native culture, including language revitalization, literature, arts, crafts, and traditional life skills. Learn more here: