On our second stop of our museums around the world trip, we are visiting our second local art museum, The Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in beautiful Downtown Sacramento and can be reached from several major freeways. The history of this museum dates back to 1868.

In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and existing buildings on the corner of Third and O Streets. He then commissioned Seth Babson (1830-1908), a talented local architect, to redesign and renovate the home into a grander, Italianate mansion. In addition,Crocker Art MuseumCrocker asked Babson to design an elaborate gallery building that would sit adjacent to the mansion and display the family’s growing art collection.Babson saw the home and gallery as an integrated complex, unique in design and demanding 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.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 an exhaustive review of all of the major museum architects in the world, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA) was unanimously 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 an openly collaborative process to ensure that the new building and the internal reconfiguration of the existing structures would work together as a whole. A classic, contemporary design was created that would pay tribute to the historic structure.

On October 10, 2010, the Crocker opened the 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion, a classic, contemporary design. The Pavilion complements the historic structures and more than tripled the Museum’s current size, enhancing its role as a cultural and educational resource for Sacramento and California’s many visitors.

Sacramento Art MuseumIn 1869, Judge Edwin B. Crocker and his family assembled a collection of more than 700 paintings and around 1,344 master drawings (one of the finest early collections in the United States) during an extended trip to Europe from 1869-71. Before and after their trip, the Crockers acquired numerous paintings by contemporary California artists, forming the core of what is today one of the state’s premier collections of California art.

The E. B. Crocker Collection was originally installed in 1873 and was one of the largest private collections in this country at that time. While 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 California Museum Association in 1885.

David Lubin, a member of the first Board of Directors of the California Museum Association, became one of the first individual donors to expand the Crocker’s collection. In 1889, he donated marble sculptures, some of which are located in the niches of the grand staircase in the Museum’s lobby. Thus began the community-based contributions which grew the original private art collection to its current size and scope. The Crocker Collection now focuses on California, European and Asian artworks, and International Ceramics.

Today the Crocker Art Museum  holds hundreds upon hundreds of different art pieces. The Crocker Art Museum is Sacramento’s Premier place to go and enjoy some wonderful art pieces. With their ever changing exhibits, you are sure to find bright, exciting, and very thought provoking pieces.