The state of California has a fascinating history, much of which occurred right in San Francisco where this organization and its museum is based. Stroll through the archives, which include a library, an art collection and a shop. Visitors can view the collection of more than historic maps, books, pamphlets, manuscripts and other visuals, including 500,000 photographs, or see works of art, including paintings, costumes, drawings, and other artifacts on display.
With historical exhibits for the city of San Francisco as well as the rest of the Golden State, it only makes sense that the building itself is a piece of history. Founded in 1871, the society is headquartered at the former home of the San Francisco Builders Exchange and E.M. Hundley hardware store. The historical group is a nonprofit organization that now has other locations throughout the state, but the greatest collection of artifacts is held here. The building was repainted in 2012 in a brilliant orange — to match the Golden Gate Bridge, of course.
The California Historical Society is open daily from 12 to 5 pm, but is closed on Mondays. Admission is $5, but use of the research library is free of charge. It is located in the Yerba Buena district of San Francisco’s SOMA area, at 678 Mission Street.