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The California Museum, originally named the Golden State Museum, opened in June 1998 as a unique public/private partnership. Under the development of the Secretary of State’s office with state bond funding for the facility and the opening exhibits, the Museum was to display contents of the vast and various state archives. Private contributions, augmented by proceeds from admissions and the Museum store, continue to fund the Museum’s programs and operations. Starting with little financial resources, the Museum focused its efforts solely on educational programs and curatorial expansion to meet California’s State Curriculum Standards. The Museum programs quickly began to provide an important resource for educators wanting to learn more about the rich history of California.Soon after her husband was sworn in as governor in 2003, First Lady Maria Shriver began working with the Secretary of State and California State Parks to expand the Museum. After noticing the glaring absence of any type of commemoration of California women and the role they have played in the state’s history, she immediately became active in establishing an exhibit to fill this void. In May 2004, “California’s Remarkable Women” exhibit opened, thus beginning the trend of creating new exhibits focused on representing all aspects and groups of California’s rich cultural history, with an emphasis on the contributions of women.Due to the great success of the California’s Remarkable Women exhibit, the Museum gave Shriver and Governor Schwarzenegger the titles of Honorary Co-Chairs. Since then, their hands-on approach in working with the Museum produced the California Hall of Fame, the most notable and diverse of all the permanent exhibits. Every December, the Governor and First Lady award legendary Californians at a formal ceremony followed by yearlong programs dedicated to the achievements of the inductees.
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