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.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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

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

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

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

History headlines on