He’s battling Captain America on the big screen but he’s also appearing at the California Museum in Sacramento through August! One of the 2000 participating Blue Star Museums this summer, the California Museum is displaying the original “Iron Man” (2008) costume on loan from actor Robert Downey Jr. He is among the current class of inductees into the California Hall of Fame housed at the museum. Also featured in the exhibition are Kristi Yamaguchi’s 1992 Olympic gold medal-winning performance dress, Lester Holt’s 1977 NBC rejection letter, David Hockney’s iPad self-portrait and more.


While you are there, snap a photo and share it with #bluestarmuseums and thank the California Museum for participating for the 3rd year in the program. After your visit, go to www.bluestarfam.org and enter the Way Cool Creativity Contest for a chance at winning amazing prizes!

For some great insight on the California Museum, here are some thoughts from Brenna Hamilton, Communications & Marketing Director:

What makes the California Museum a great destination for active duty military families?

As the official state history museum and home of the California Hall of Fame, the California Museum is a great destination for military families this summer to explore over 10,000 years of the state’s history, arts and culture for free through Blue Star Museums.

Whether you’re 7, 70 (or somewhere in between), there is sure to be an exhibit that will interest you. Our exhibits are designed to be family-friendly and cover a wide range of California’s history, arts and culture, beginning with the state’s Native peoples as far back as 7000 B.C. in “California Indians: Making a Difference.”

Visitors of all ages enjoy “California Missions: A Journey Along the El Camino Real” exploring state’s transformation into a thriving frontier on the verge of U.S. statehood. It covers the history of missions across the state and includes fascinating artifacts such as a hand-written document by Father Junípero Serra and a cape from the expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá, the first governor of Alta California.

For those more into recent history, the California Hall of Fame currently features contemporary stories of inductees like Robert Downey Jr, who loaned the original “Iron Man” suit from the first 2008 film, and Kristi Yamaguchi, who loaned her 1992 Olympic gold-winning performance dress and skates. Or, see the Kentucky Derby and Preakness trophies in “California Chrome: A Race for the Dream,” chronicling the inspirational story of “the people’s horse” who rose from his foaling in Coalinga, CA to become an international symbol of the California dream.

In addition, many of our exhibits have hands-on interactive stations with activity sheets where visitors of all ages can further their learning experiences. In “Power of the People: Voting in California, 1850-2016” for example, visitors can register to vote, “vote” on which issues matter most to them in this election season and discover which presidential candidate best matches their views.


What is unique about your collection?

As a non-collecting institution, the California Museum doesn’t maintain collections. The Museum opened in 1998 through a partnership with the Secretary of State to be the public showplace for the California State Archives, which is located in the same building as the Museum. Although the Museum’s mission and scope have evolved over the years and now our exhibits draw from collections statewide, most of our exhibits still include artifacts from the California State Archives.

Most recently, we developed “Power of the People: Voting in California, 1850-2016” in partnership with the Archives, and the exhibit includes many interesting items from their collections. Highlights include absentee ballots introduced in 1864 for California’s troops away fighting in the Civil War, campaign items for notable candidates like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and political advertising created by Campaigns, Inc., America’s first political consulting firm established in 1933 in San Francisco, whose tactics are widely still used to win elections today.

Why does the California Museum participate in the Blue Star Museums program?

Since 2013, we have been a proud participant in Blue Star Museums as our way of expressing gratitude to military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifices on behalf of our state and country.

In addition to this program, military personnel are regularly featured in our exhibits to continue educating visitors on the importance of their service and sacrifices. Our long-term exhibit “Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII” features the story of the Army’s 442ndRegimental Combat Team, a unit composed almost entirely of Japanese American soldiers, most of whom had families confined in internment camps while they were away in the war. In April, we were proud to host “Remembering Our Fallen From California,” a traveling memorial honoring over 700 Californians from all branches of the military who have perished in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. In 2012, we were thrilled to develop “Tuskegee Airmen: Journey to Flight” with the California African American Museum to celebrate the African American men and women who broke barriers as both aviation heroes and champions of equality while serving in WWII.

What are your favorite museum destinations?

That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many great museums, but some of my favorites are the de Young, Children’s Creativity Museum, Charles M. Schulz Museum, LACMA and Cooper-Hewitt (besides ours, of course).

Whether you’re PCS’ing or just planning some fun family getaways, make sure you make Blue Star Museums a part of your summer!