California Historical Society

About the Museum

The California Historical Society, founded in 1871, is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to make California's richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives. The Society is nestled within the Yerba Buena District, a dynamic downtown hub comprising more than two dozen museums; performing arts facilities, and other cultural institutions.

The CHS Collection represents the environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural heritage of the entire state of California, including materials from outside the State that contribute to a greater understanding of the region and its people. It comprises a diverse body of materials including 50,000 volumes of books and pamphlets, 4,000 manuscript collections, 500,000 photograph, the Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing, 5,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and lithographs, as well as printed ephemera, periodicals, posters, broadsides, maps, newspapers, artifacts and costumes.


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