History

A new historical museum is envisioned for Sacramento. Here's what it would focus on

Video: Jerry Brown, corgis, ready to live in renovated governor's mansion

Ronald Reagan was the last California governor to inhabit the historic building in downtown Sacramento.
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Ronald Reagan was the last California governor to inhabit the historic building in downtown Sacramento.

The stately Governor's Mansion on H Street has housed 14 of the state's top political leaders and their families since the state purchased it in 1903.

Now the Governor's Mansion Foundation wants to ensure that history is preserved. The organization, dedicated to operating and preserving the mansion, is proposing to build an education center in a building behind the home. Artifacts from previous governors that are currently in the state archives would illustrate the history of California's highest office.

One of the Governor's Mansion Foundation's board members, Rex Hime, said the group envisions a museum modeled after the California Museum.

"The Governor's Mansion is a part of the history of California," Hime said. "The mansion itself is very historical ... and the state has only built on that with the various governors."

The education center would also serve as a meeting and event space for the public, Hime said.

Plans for the space will be unveiled at an event on May 2. At that time, the foundation will seek patrons for the educational center, Hime said.

Thirteen governors lived in the home between 1903 and 1967 – including Gov. Pat Brown, current Gov. Jerry Brown's father. Ronald and Nancy Reagan briefly lived in the home in 1967 before moving to East Sacramento. A home was built for the Reagans in Carmichael, but it wasn't completed until after Reagan left office.

It wasn't until 2015 that another California governor moved in. In the intervening years, tours were given of the historic residence, which is furnished with many items collected by its famous residents over the years.

In January 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature approved $4.1 million in electrical, plumbing and safety renovations to the old building, funded by the sale of the Carmichael residence.

Brown, wife Anne Gust Brown and their dogs moved into the residence once the renovations were completed. He had left home by the time his father occupied the mansion, but the younger Brown studied for the bar exam in the house, his spokesman said in 2015.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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