Society of California Pioneers Museum and Library


Established in 1850, The Society of California Pioneers is dedicated to the study and enjoyment of California art, history, and culture. Founded by individuals arriving in California before 1850 and thriving under the leadership of several generations of their direct descendants, The Society has continuously served the academic community and the public.

As the oldest organization west of the Mississippi, The Society opened one of the first libraries in California, as well as a grand hall for meetings, lectures, and social events. Today we operate a museum on The Main Post of The Presidio of San Francisco, free museum education programs, and The Alice Phelan Sullivan research library, all as a nonprofit organization designed to support scholarship and to encourage new interpretations that both illuminate and honor the diverse experiences of those who came before us.

Featured Fun

A Letter Written in Gold Dust

Although our museum and library remain closed due to state Coronavirus mandates, members of the museum and library staff are working remotely, creating online content for our ongoing HISTORY@HOME campaign.┬áDirector of Library and Archives Patricia Keats narrates the feature below, a video tour of one of the most unique and complete collections in our archives. You can also download Keats’ open access research recommendations.

Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 11:00AM – (Virtual) Mining the Archives: Primary Sources from the California Gold Rush

Designed to support remote learning, this program introduces open-access resources for students, teachers, and armchair historians. Featuring artifacts and manuscripts from the collection amassed and maintained by The Society of California Pioneers since 1850, these online portals offer primary sources that separate fact from fiction.

This event is free but pre-registration is required.