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Gold Fever! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush

Art of the Gold Rush: Painters and Prospectors

Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the Gold Rush

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The Oakland Museum of California Reveals Gold Rush! California's Untold Stories in Keystone of Sesquicentennial 

Launching a statewide, three-year commemoration of the California's Gold Rush and emergence into statehood, the Oakland Museum of California has produced an innovative and investigative series of exhibitions and programs opening January 24, 1998, exactly one hundred and fifty years after the discovery of gold in California. Gold Rush! California's Untold Stories employs three interrelated exhibitions, a major symposium and lecture series, public programs and performances, new statewide public school curriculum materials, teacher workshops, on-line resources and traveling exhibits, in a far-reaching exploration of the rich history, complex issues and enduring legacy of America's first Gold Rush. 

Gold Rush! California's Untold Stories portrays a vast range of new information and critical perspectives to new and old students of California's history. The multi-layered project seeks to expose stereotypes, discover and illuminate new truths, and provide an informed surrounding in which to reflect on the lasting—and still resonating—impact of California's Gold Rush. Authentic objects, documents, and photographs convey that the Gold Rush, while opening a limitless future for some, was a catastrophe for many others, including California's Native Americans and Californios. The displays, natural specimens and photographs also vividly chronicle the staggering effect of mining techniques on Califo ffb rnia's natural resources and the consequent birth of the conservation movement. 

Three exhibitions present the artifacts, artwork and daguerreotype photographs of the Gold Rush. 

    Gold Fever! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush, the largest exhibition in the museum's history, opens January 24, 1998 and will be on view through July 26, 1998, in the museum's Great Hall. Gold Fever! shows the event's impact on California's economy, population, environment and cultural diversity through artifact displays, tableaux, a theatrical audio guide, film footage, a reconstructed archaeological dig, and conversations with museum docents. Gold Fever! will travel to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles (September 19, 1998 - January 24, 1999) and to the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium (July 7 - October 31, 1999). A smaller traveling panel edition of Gold Fever! will visit ten or more museums, libraries and historical societies throughout California, sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities. 

    Art of the Gold Rush: Painters and Prospectors brings together for the first time 72 of the finest paintings, watercolors and drawings of the era, offering a visual history of life during one of the most dramatic periods of growth in California history. Art of the Gold Rush will be on view January 24 - May 31, 1998 at the Oakland Museum of California before traveling to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento (June 20 - September 13, 1998) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. (October 30, 1998 - March 7, 1999). 

    Silver and Gold: Cased Images of the Gold Rush boasts 150 unique daguerreotypes and ambrotypes. These images of the faces and landscapes of the Gold Rushoffer visitors a highly personal view of life during the 1850s and a surprising insight into the diversity of races caught in the Gold Rush. The extensive collection, representing the finest known cased images of the era from private and institutional collections across the country, will be on view at the Oakland Museum of California from January 24 until July 26, 1998. Silver and Gold will travel to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. (October 30, 1998 - March 7, 1999) and to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento (August 13 - October 10, 1999). 

The comprehensive six-month project opens with formal ceremonies and a major symposium on January 24 and January 25, 1998, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the museum's focus will be to educate visitors on all aspects of the Gold Rush and its enduring legacy. Featured are public programs and performances, teacher workshops, new curriculum materials, on-line resources and traveling exhibits. 

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