For my dual enrollment U.S. History class, my teacher offered an awesome extra credit opportunity; participating in the free annual Sacramento Archives Crawl in October. This year’s theme was “Preserving the Struggle: Archives and Activism,” so displays in each location focused on activism and social change in the area, along with additional Sacramento and California history.
My family and I love learning about history wherever we travel to, especially when it’s interactive and hands-on! Naturally, we had to attend this event (not just for extra credit), but we had no idea how spectacular it would turn out being.
Passport and Crawl Stops
The archives crawl takes advantage of four different locations in downtown Sacramento: the Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Public Library, California State Library, and California State Archives. Each location had unique displays, information, and various things to learn about.
To prove we attended the event, we got to fill out the Archives Crawl Passport. At each stop, an employee stamped off the location until it was full, then you could receive a prize at the end.
Going Behind the Scenes!
To get the extra credit, all student’s had to do was check out each exhibit in the main room and get a stamp, but I wanted to take it a step further and take advantage of the experience. This was easily the COOLEST part of the entire day!
Each stop offered behind the scenes tours of their massive collections of archives, documents, maps, books, records and more. The Center for Sacramento History even had old signs, furniture, machinery, Fairy Tale Town mementos, cameras, and more. One person working on film archival and restoration played an old news reel for us and gave me an awesome online resource to find historic videos! Getting to see the gorgeous book spines and historic artifacts that were once brand new, was an incredible experience.
The tour guides got out different mugshot books, art, newspapers, records, and maps for us to look at. Plus, showed how the mechanic moving racks work and their protection measures. Another thing I thought was really neat was getting to enter the chilled rooms preserving film canisters, huge rolled maps, and other delicate archives. When walking around the hidden vaults, you get to see just how vast the archives really are.
Not only did I accumulate some valuable resources for my research paper, but I had the opportunity to learn more about where I live and the abundance of history in Sacramento. The Archives Crawl showed me the importance of historical preservation and the value of passing down knowledge to new generations.
If you enjoy learning (and being blown away by in-person history), I highly recommend attending a Sacramento Archives Crawl… and stopping for coffee and lunch in between stops!