I’ve been a Californian for more than 10 years, but before last weekend had never been to the state capital of Sacramento. Now, our primary reason for going was for the party on Saturday, but the Beloved and I had most of Friday to sightsee – and we figured we had time to see a couple of the city’s main attractions. Well, a couple of main attractions that is after the Beloved watched TLC’s coverage of The Royal Wedding until I began pointing out what time it was, and maybe how late it was getting and gosh, wasn’t it a beautiful day. She got to see a replay of the carriage ride, so that was deemed satisfactory.
Our GPS wouldn’t fire up, but since our first destination was to the State Capitol Building, we figured we could find it and, with a tiny bit of a grid-search, we did. We pretty quickly got on a tour and I’m glad we did because I learned a lot about the building and the history of California’s state government.
The Capitol is a great looking building both inside and out (the third on the site after the first two burned down pretty early on…) and houses both the legislative and executive branches of the state government. The building has some great touches including the state seal (Eureka!) in various places, plus the official portraits of all the state’s governors – though our favorite might have been the ornate bear-heads in the woodwork.
Speaking of bears, we got to see the large ursine sculpture that was donated by Governor Schwarzenegger (referring to him as The Governator got old about 4 years ago) which stands outside the Governor’s office. Clearly many people have rubbed his ears and nose (the bear’s, not Arnold’s) for good luck – though sadly the bear has picked up the nickname “Furlough”. Tough times all over, bud.
We got to see the legislative chambers, which were beautiful. The desks for the legislators are 19th century originals – just gorgeous. It was enough that I started feeling a strange pride swelling within me, until I started thinking about our particular legislature, who’s feuding and partisan driven inaction makes the US Congress look like a church prayer meeting. Still, I really enjoyed seeing the capitol.
The remainder of the day was spent at the Crocker Art Museum which was maybe a half-mile walk from the capitol. The Crocker had recently opened a huge expansion (tripling the size of the gallery space) that had been getting a lot of praise and so we wanted to check it out.
This was a very well-curated museum that I enjoyed because it focused on the development of different art schools and trends throughout California’s history and how they compared and contrasted to those taking place elsewhere in the world – so it was a combo of art and history that was a great complement to the political and civil history of the state we learned at the capitol. Highly recommended.
It has me wondering if all state capitols and capitols would be as fun to visit.