While most think of San Francisco or Los Angeles as California‘s major cities, back in the days of the Gold Rush, Sacramento was not only the state capitol but a major hub, blossoming with nugget-fueled commerce. The Sacramento History Museum devotes a large portion of their displays to gold rush era Sacramento and its environs. Along with many impressive gold nuggets, visitors can view water canons, assayers scales, and the everyday equipment of miners.
Of course, no display about the gold rush would be complete without gold nuggets, and the Sacramento History Museum is a veritable bonanza of nuggets. Between five displays of nuggets, visitors can see gold in quartz, gold coins, and gold jewelry from California’s rush.
Outside, school children get a hands on lesson about gold mining with troughs of water and potential pay dirt. Children are taught how to pan and understand how gold’s weight allows it to be separated from the sand and dirt also found at the bottom of rivers. It’s up to you whether you want to burst any bubbles by explaining to a beaming child that the “gold” they found is pyrite.
Gold Rush Days
While the displays focused on gold mining are rather limited, the Sacramento History Museum also organizes many events, the most relevant of which is the annual Gold Rush Days. Come to old town Sacramento for living history. In 2015, the Gold Rush Days will span September 5th to the 7th. “Activities and performances around Old Sacramento include gold panning, arts and crafts stations, melodramas and musicians, Pony Express relays, and more!”