Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

February 10, 2011
Auto Museum curator is a car buff with impressive credentials

CAM.jpgNathan Smith, who became the new curator of the California Automobile Museum last October, comes from a long line of car buffs going back to his great-great-grandfather, an early car dealer, and his grandfather, a past president of the Society of Automotive Historians. "We joke that it's genetic in my family and it skips a generation," he observed in an interview in the latest issue of Inside the City (p. 45).

Smith brings to his job a passion for vehicles and an impressive set of credentials: a bachelors in historic preservation and a masters in museum studies. He sees himself as primarily an educator and believes that "through the prism of automotive history, we can explore the cultural, social, technological, aesthetic, economic, and industrial history of our city, state, nation, and world over the last two hundred years."

Currently, the California Automobile Museum is offering three exhibits that ought to interest the car enthusiast and non-enthusiast alike:

Automobilia: November 13, 2010 through Summer 2011. This exhibit is "dedicated to the artistry and influence of Italian auto manufacturing on the world's auto industry and will house a rare and rotating collection of memorable and exotic cars with an Italian pedigree."

Going Green: It's Good for the Planet: Ongoing. "An exhibit displaying and telling the story of clean fuel alternatives." It features a number of electric and fuel cell vehicles.

Dropped and Chopped: Jan. 27 through March 27. "Explore the classic years of traditional [hot] rods and customs between 1946 and 1960, including Sacramento's notable cars and legends such as Dick Bertolucci, George Barris, Harry Westergard and Don Tognotti."

PHOTO CREDIT: 1913 Rauch Lang Electric Vehicle, part of the "Going Green" exhibit. Courtesy California Automobile Museum.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at mdolgushkin@library.ca.gov.

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at agraham@saclibrary.org.

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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