California State Archives Virtual Mini-Tours: Artifacts Area

Exploring the Archives' Three-Dimensional Histories

By California State Archives

Archives Virtual Tour - Artifact Storage Room (2020-05) by California Secretary of State's OfficeCalifornia State Archives

View of a Shelving Aisle in Artifact Storage (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

The California State Archives has six floors of stacks that are home to the California State Archives’ collections.

The Archives uses the stacks’ first floor for artifact storage. Artifacts or three-dimensional objects make up just a small percentage of the Archives’ collections, the bulk of which are paper-based records.
Most of the artifacts collection are small items, like campaign buttons, that can be housed in boxes on shelves. Large artifacts, such as furniture, must be stored on pallets.

A Sutter County Voting Machine (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

A Sutter County Voting Machine

The California State Archives, a Division of the California Secretary of State’s Office, collects artifacts and ephemera related to elections. Transferred to the Archives by Sutter County, this voting machine was manufactured by Automatic Voting Machine Corporation, circa 1960. 

Earl Warren's Desk (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

Earl Warren's Desk

This desk was used by Governor Earl Warren during the 1940s and early 1950s for ceremonial bill signings. Measuring almost 10 feet long, the large desk is thought to have been crafted from a single piece of redwood by incarcerated individuals at San Quentin State Prison.

The Beaded Great Seal of California, Made by Pine Eisfeller (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

The Beaded Great Seal of California, Made by Pine Eisfeller

Pine Eisfeller used over 87,000 beads to create this colorful replica of the Great Seal of the State of California. Eisfeller donated it to the state in 1968. For many years, it hung in the office of Secretary of State March Fong Eu before it made its way to the State Archives.

Artifacts from the Preston School of Industry (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

Established in 1889, the Preston School of Industry was a state correctional institution for juvenile male offenders.

It was operated as part of the California Youth Authority and closed in 2011, at which time the State Archives received selected artifacts and records. The school’s gothic style main building, known as Preston Castle, still stands in Ione, California, and is now cared for by a private foundation.

Photograph of Artifacts from the Preston School of Industry, Part One (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

Artifacts from the Preston School of Industry

Featured with the Preston School of Industry Artifacts is a boot with a distinctive notched heel. The school’s wards wore shoes with notched heels so that their footprints would be easy to track if they ran away.

Photograph of Artifacts from the Preston School of Industry, Part Two (2020) by California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

Artifacts from the Preston School of Industry

Pictured is a trophy for a prize-winning cattle herd. The school was known for its agricultural programs.

Closeup of Artifacts from the Capitol Restoration Project, Part One, California State Archives, 2020, From the collection of: California State Archives
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Closeup of Artifacts from the Capitol Restoration Project, Part Two, California State Archives, 2020, From the collection of: California State Archives
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Artifacts from the Capitol Restoration Project: The California State Archives is the official repository for records and artifacts of the Capitol Restoration Project, which took place from 1976 to 1982. Artifacts include items discovered on-site during the restoration such as pottery shards and old bottles as well as original architectural elements of the Capitol and detailed reproductions.  Shown above are bottles, a cast iron fragment, a carved wooden bear's head, and a cast iron eagle.  

Credits: Story

California State Archives
Sacramento, CA

All records, photographs and videos featured are property of the California State Archives and the California Secretary of State's Office.

A special thank you to our videographer, Adam Christy, to our photographers, Thaddeus McCurry and Brian Guido, and to Archivist Melissa Tyler for curating the artifacts and their corresponding histories for this virtual tour.

Text by Melissa Tyler and Alese Ballard.
Photography by Thaddeus McCurry and Brian Guido.
Filmography and editing by Adam Christy.
Virtual tour by Alese Ballard (2020).

California State Archives
A Division of the California Secretary of State's Office
www.sos.ca.gov/archives
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
Reference Telephone: (916) 653-2246
General Information: (916) 653-7715
Fax: (916) 653-7363

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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