Center housing state’s historic artifacts aims to open to public this fall

Published: Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am

Tangible objects from California’s rich history – including items dating back to covered wagon days – have found a home in McClellan Park.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to open its 265,282-square-foot Consolidated Operations and Museum Collection Center to the public this fall. And while most of a massive collection of historic artifacts will be stored away, the public will be able to get a perpetually updated taste of Golden State days gone by.

“The (artifacts) have been moved, but we’re still working on moving some other stuff before things get finalized,” said department spokeswoman Vicky Waters. “We do hope to open to the public later this fall.

“We’re planning to have museum-type artifacts rotated every so often at the front of the facility. The public (including authors and academic researchers) can search databases, and staff can help look up specific items.”

Previously, according to McClellan Business Park officials, the state parks department stored about 1.5 million historic objects and 2 million artifacts in multiple warehouse facilities in West Sacramento. Additional department operations, photo archives and other services were spread out at other facilities throughout the Sacramento area.

The consolidation of items and services at McClellan is expected produce significant annual savings for the parks department.

Throughout this year, extensive restoration and upgrading work has been performed on existing industrial space to consolidate workers and artifacts into one site. The renovated building formerly was used by the U.S. Air Force for material and supply storage purposes.

Building upgrades were done inside and out. Most important, the building’s climate-control systems were updated to assure long-term preservation of artifacts.

Waters said the climate-control additions have “allowed us to increase the life of these historic artifacts (by) 300 percent because of lowered humidity. There are wonderful things in this facility that belong to people of California … that we want to make sure are preserved for future generations.”

The upgraded building has received silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for “green” buildings. Silver is LEED’s third-highest rating for meeting stringent environmental standards in construction and operation.

A specific public opening date has not yet been set.

The lease signed by the state Department of General Services with McClellan Business Park for the industrial space also provided for 53,000 square feet of fenced yard area for vehicle storage and employee parking.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

Read more articles by Mark Glover

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