The Museums of Sonoma County (MSC) is the umbrella organization consisting of two non-profit art and history museums in Santa Rosa. Focusing on art from the modern period to the present, the Museum's art collection features artists who have lived and worked in the greater Bay-Area. The Museum serves approximately 25,000 visitors a year, including over 3,000 school children who come to the Museum free of charge.
Located in a 1910 Post Office building, the Museum built a sculpture garden in 2011 that features the work of Northern California artists. The Museum was founded in 1985 as the Historical Foundation of Sonoma County with the focus on regional history. In 2005 SCM absorbed the local Museum of Contemporary Art and expanded its mission to both contemporary art and history.
In 2011, the Museums opened a contemporary sculpture garden featuring artists from Northern California. In 2015, the Museums rebranded as the Art Museum of Sonoma County and the History Museum of Sonoma County. The Art Museum opened in a 4,500 square foot gallery adjacent to the History Museum. It represents phase I of a long-term plan to build a 20,000 square foot art museum on the property.
The Art Museum features changing exhibitions of national and internationally-acclaimed artists. The History Museum focuses on the region’s history.
The Museum is participating in an international exchange program with the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in Ansan, South Korea and is developing a collaborative exhibition in 2013 that brings together work from Korean organizations Rawside,and AbleArt, and with Creative Growth in Oakland, California.
MSC is the only regional museum to offer free tours that include art and history activities to school-age youth throughout Sonoma and Marin Counties. The Museum provides free transportation to any school that requests this assistance.
Acquired over the past twenty-six years, the Museum’s collection of over 18,000 art and historic objects uniquely documents the art, history, and culture of California’s North Coast region from the late nineteenth-century to the present, and includes objects from the pre-contact period.
MSC has several focus collections that provide considerable depth with respect to artists including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Harry Dixon, Carroll Barnes, Marguerite Wildenhain, and Hansel Mieth and Otto Hagel. In addition, the Museum’s collection provides the only remaining materials associated with various historic communities that no longer exist, including Santa Rosa’s Chinatown, and Fountaingrove Utopian Colony, and includes unparalleled documentation of the wine industry, and the history of Sonoma County’s Latino and immigrant communities.