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Indian artifacts on display at revitalized Sacramento museum.

Indian artifacts on display at revitalized Sacramento museum

Nearly 150 volunteers--most of them Native Americans--recently spent two years completing the first official rehabilitation of the California State Indian Museum at Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.

A state grant of $200,000 covered new plumbing, wiring, and air conditioning. Only $25,000 was left to update old exhibits and add new ones. A call went out for help, and the public responded with ideas, time, and money to upgrade the museum's contents. Most of the major improvements were finished last September, with the exhibit receiving finishing touches just last month. Almost a third of the volunteers continue to support the museum as docents.

The museum traces its origins to Benjamin Hathaway's private collection of baskets, tools, and regalia, which was displayed at the State Capitol in the 1930s. The collection moved to its current site in 1940, and after 10 years of public display the state bought it in 1950.

Original display cases have been redesigned to slant forward, enabling youngsters to see into them more easily. An exhibit of contemporary Indian art has been added, and ceremonial regalia has been brought out of storage. Indian history and folklore gaze at you from enlarged black-and-white photographs. At a new hands-on display, children and adults can test their skills using Indian tools and identifying pelts of animals that were mainstays of the early native Californians' lives.

On Saturdays, puppet shows, slide shows, and movies are presented on the half-hour from 11 to 3 in the small auditorium.

The museum, at 2618 K Street, is open 10 to 5 daily. Admission is $1 for adults, 50 cents for children 6 to 17, free for younger children. A duck pond across from the front door is a good spot for a picnic.

Photo: Young visitors to Indian museum grind acorns with mortar and pestle--and, in back, pump a Pomo drill, a tool used to make holes in clamshell money
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Title Annotation:California State Indian Museum exhibition
Date:Jun 1, 1986
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