Visiting the Crocker

216 O Street
Tu-Su, 10am-5pm; Th 10am-9pm; Closed Mondays
Admission Fees
Adults $10; Seniors (65+) $8; College Students $8; Youth (7-17) $5; 6 yrs and under free
(916) 808-7000 (General Info)
(916) 808-1184 (Admission Desk)

The first public art museum founded in the Western United States, the Crocker Art Museum was established in 1885 and is now one of the leading art museums in California. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of special exhibitions and programs to complement its collections of Californian art, works on paper, European art, international ceramics, photography, Asian art, and African and Oceanic art.

The Crocker Art Museum is the only museum in the Sacramento region accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a recognition given to less than 800 of the nation's 17,500 museums. AAM accreditation certifies that a museum operates according to standards set forth by the museum profession, manages its collections responsibly and provides quality service to the public.



On May 6, 1885, Margaret E. Crocker presented the Crocker art gallery building, the grounds, and the E. B. Crocker Collection "in trust for the public" to the City of Sacramento and the California Museum Association (now the Crocker Art Museum Association). In doing so, she established a precedent-setting structure of a public-private partnership to oversee the Museum and its collection.To thank Margaret for this gift to the people of Sacramento, city leaders planned a Floral Festival on the day the gallery and collection were presented. The Festival drew a reported 20,000 visitors from within the region and abroad.

The Museum continues to build upon the Crocker family legacy by collecting and exhibiting work representing all media, time periods and cultures. This furthers the spirit of the Crockers' love of art and their intention to develop a center for its appreciation in California.


002 European  Crocker2 35874

In 1869, Judge Edwin B. and Margaret Crocker assembled a collection of more than 700 paintings and 1,300 master drawings during their family's 1869-71 trip to Europe. Following this sojourn, the Crockers acquired numerous paintings by contemporary Californian artists, forming the core of a Californian collection that has evolved until the present day and is now considered one of the finest in the United States. The collection was installed in the family's gallery building by 1873.

Although the Crockers frequently opened the gallery building to the public, it remained a privately held collection until Margaret Crocker presented the building and collection to the City of Sacramento and the California Museum Association (now the Crocker Art Museum Association) in 1885.

The Association continued the collecting emphases of its founders. Jennie Crocker Fasset's donation of Korean ceramics in 1927 formed the basis of both an Asian art collection and a collection of ceramics that now represents myriad eras and cultures. More recent donations of African and Oceanic art established a new collecting focus.


Crocker architectureI

In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and existing buildings on the corner of Third and O Streets. He then commissioned local architect Seth Babson (1830-1908) to renovate the home into a grander, Italianate mansion. In addition, Crocker asked Babson to design an elaborate gallery building adjacent to the mansion to display the family's growing art collection.

Babson envisioned the home and gallery as an integrated complex, unique in design and built from the finest materials. The gallery building included a bowling alley, skating rink, and billiards room on the ground floor; a natural history museum and a library on the first floor; and gallery space on the second floor. Completed in 1872, the Crocker family mansion and art gallery are considered the masterpieces of Babson's career.

The family mansion went through several uses and reconstructions until a 1989 renovation restored the historic façade and created a modern gallery interior. The original buildings, now connected, as well as the cast concrete Herold Wing addition of 1969, were renamed the Crocker Art Museum in 1978. The gallery building is a California Historical Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2000, the Crocker appointed a selection committee comprised of elected officials, community leaders, CAMA Board members, City staff, and potential donors to search for an architect that would lead the Museum through master planning. After a comprehensive review of all of the major museum architects in the world, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA) was chosen to guide the process because of their design aesthetic and past experience. GSAA designed the expansion of the Crocker after conducting a thorough master planning process. Many voices from the community were involved in a collaborative process to ensure that the new building and the internal reconfiguration of the existing structures would work together as a whole.

On October 10, 2010, the Crocker opened the 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion. The contemporary design of the Pavilion complements the historic structures. The New Crocker Art Museum: The Making of a Masterpiece is an in-depth look behind the scenes of the fundraising process, the design and construction of the new facility, and the building and exhibition of the Crocker's collection. Produced, directed, and edited by Laurence Campling, the DVD is available for purchase at the Museum Store and may be viewed here.

The expansion more than tripled the Museum's size, enhancing its ability to serve Sacramento and the region's many visitors. For the first time in the Museum's history, there are dedicated gallery spaces for all collecting areas. The expansion also enabled the dedication of the historic building's entire first floor as the Museum's Education Center, including four studio classrooms, space for Student & Community Exhibitions, an expanded Gerald Hansen Library, the Art Education Resource Room, and Tot Land.

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Comments about the Crocker Art Museum

2008-10-28 22:04:26   The Crocker is one of the quiet treasures of Sacramento. Its programs offer much to enjoy. One of the rooms on the 2nd floor is my favorite place in all of Sacramento. I highly recommend a visit when you can. —WILLIAMJTRINKLE

2009-11-08 15:32:16   i love art and its cool —humbert