California State Military Museum
Adoption of the California State Military Museum
The museum's history is a little confusing as its mission and name changed over time. Essentially, what began as a museum related to the history of the California National Guard metamorphosed into a museum dedicated to the complete military history of the State of California.
The formation of the California State Military Museum and Resource Center can be traced back to legislation adopted in 1981, where the state Adjutant General (head of the National Guard) was authorized to establish a California National Guard military museum for the collection of military artifacts, memorabilia, equipment, and documents related to the history of the California National Guard established when California achieved statehood in 1850. The law read, in part,
The "California National Guard military museum and resource center" was established in 1983 as the California Citizen-Soldier Museum.
A desire to expand the California Citizen-Soldier Museum to encompass all of the military history of the state led to that change in purpose along with a change in name.
In 1993, Civil War artifacts, on display at in the State Capitol were moved to the California Citizen-Soldier Museum to exhibit, maintain, and preserve.
In 1994, Governor Pete Wilson, by executive order, declared the California Citizen-Soldier Museum the official military museum of California.
The California Citizen-Soldier Museum was renamed the California Military Museum in 1995.
Three years later, $250,000 was awarded to the California Military Museum to establish the California Military History Educational Project, a joint effort by the Museum, the University of California, Irvine's Humanities Research Institute, the California State University of Los Angeles Charter College of Education, and the University of California San Diego Supercomputer Center.
In 2000, the California State Legislature directed that military awards and decorations that had come into the possession of the State Controller as "unclaimed" property be held in trust at the California National Guard museum and resource center (The California Military Museum).
The 1981 law that allowed the California Adjutant General to establish a California National Guard military museum and resource center was changed to "require" that the Adjutant General establish a "California State Military Museum and Resource Center" and so it was that the California Military Museum became the California State Military Museum and Resource Center.
In 2003, the 2000 law that directed that military awards and decorations that had come into the possession of the State Controller as "unclaimed" property be held in trust at the California National Guard museum and resource center (The California Military Museum) was changed to specify that the unclaimed property should be held in trust at the "California State Military Museum and Resource Center."
The proposal to adopt the California State Military Museum and Resource Center as the official state military museum was originated by the Museum and supported by the California State Commanders Veterans Council, the California Association of County Veterans Services Officers, and the Armed Forces Retirees Association of California.
Assemblyman David Cox introduced the legislation to accomplish this, Assembly Bill No. 1939 (AB 1939), on February 04, 2004. [ AB 1939 as introduced ]
The legislation declared, "The Legislature finds and declares that it is appropriate at this time to designate by statute the California State Military Museum and Resource Center as the official state military museum."
The California State Military Museum and Resource Center became the official state military museum of California when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill No. 1939 on July 13, 2004. [ AB 1939 as approved ]
In a message to the State Assembly on that day, Governor Schwarzennegger remarked,
"I am signing AB 1939 which establishes the California State Military Museum and Resource Center located in Sacramento, California as the official military museum because I believe that it is very important to preserve California's storied military heritage."
Today, the museum is said to have in its possession "...over 30,000 military artifacts including weapons, uniforms, unit records, battle flags, photographs, personal letters, newspaper articles, medals, and other information."
The California State Military Museum and Resource Center has been at its current location, a few minutes from the State Capital on 1119 Second Street, in the Old Sacramento State Historical Park, since 1990. The Museum is generally referred to simply as the California Military Museum.
Five satellite museums are maintained, at Camp Roberts, at Camp San Luis Obispo, at the Fresno Air National Guard Base, at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, and at the San Diego National Guard Armory, in addition to the Sacramento facility.
The following information was excerpted from the California Government Code, Title 1, Division 2, Chapter 2.
CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE
429.6. The California State Military Museum and Resource Center is the official state military museum.
Source: California State Legislature, California Law, , February 22, 2008.
California Military History: California has a rich, but relatively unknown military history. This link offers several topics dealing with the military history of the Golden State.
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