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About Us

Benicia Historical Museum

Preserving our heritage. Educating our future. Enriching our culture. 

OUR MISSION

The Mission of the BENICIA HISTORICAL MUSEUM is to engage the community and the greater public in the evolving history of Benicia and its contributions to the development of our state and country. Dedicated to our children and future generations, our work fosters understanding, connectivity, identity, and pride. The museum complex is at the heart of Benicia’s historic preservation and heritage promotion programs through its exhibits, educational outreach, events, and activities, and online archives.

Our Story

Since 1982

“The History of California is Written in the Story of Benicia.”

The Benicia Historical Museum shares the story of Benicia’s place in the history of California and how this history relates to the development of our country pre-and-post statehood. The name, Camel Barns Complex, comes from one of Benicia’s unique contributions to US Military history. In the 1850s and 1860s, the US Army experimented with using camels — imported from the Mideast — as pack animals. After the advent of the Civil War, the experiment was abandoned. The remaining camels were brought to the Benicia Arsenal to be auctioned to the public and housed behind what is now our main Museum gallery.

In the early 1980s, a group of dedicated Benician’s were determined to preserve the history of their historic city. It was through their efforts that the City of Benicia recognized the value of preserving the original Benicia Arsenal buildings that now house the Museum complex. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (No. 7600053) and placed on the list of California Historical Landmarks (No. 176.)

On December 7, 1982, the Benicia City Council dedicated the complex to the Benicia Historical Museum. The Benicia Historical Museum opened its doors to the public on May 19, 1985.

Since its inception, the Museum has undergone several recasts as its board and staff continue to look to the future and find new and exciting ways of presenting the history of California, as told through the story of Benicia.

With each new edition, the Museum has grown and developed, furthering the commitment of its staff and volunteers to the continued development of our community. With the 2022 acquisition of the Benicia Fire Museum collection, the Museum has stepped further into the public role of preservation. Commitment to our collective past brings us ever closer to the excitement of our future.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Museum Staff, and Volunteers we are pleased and excited to rededicate ourselves and our mission, to our community. The Benicia Historical Museum is your Museum and we invite you to explore with us as we unlock the doors to history through exciting educational programs, exclusive cultural experiences, and so much more.

 Thank you for your support.

We will see you at the Museum!

Board of Directors
Benicia Historical Museum

Your Support Makes This Possible!

We believe in cultivating curiosity and encouraging adventurous discovery, and we’re thrilled that you do, too! By supporting the Benicia Historical Museum trough your membership dollars and volunteerism, you contribute to our community’s history and culture by connecting children and adults with the arts, historic buildings and the environment through engaging exhibitions exploring local history. Your membership dollars are used to provide high quality educational programming for hundreds of schoolchildren each year, provide free access to the museum for senior citizens as well as bring nationally recognized exhibitions found nowhere else in the world to our museum walls. 

 Are you curious? Are you interested in California history? Do you have a few hours a week available to help out at the Benicia Historical Museum? Then apply to become a volunteer with us! Volunteers are the heart and soul of this museum. Without them, we can’t offer our visitors the rich experiences they deserve. If you love history, or want to learn more about American History and California as it happened, get involved today. 

The benefits that you receive by volunteering or joining our membership program are intended to further your enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of all there is to love about this spectacular little city near the San Francisco Bay.

 We look forward to seeing you soon!

Board of Directors
Benicia Historical Museum

CA Association of Museums
AASLH
Blue Star Museums

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors of the Benicia Historical Museum is composed of members of the museum elected for terms of three years. The elections are held during the Annual Membership meeting every September.

Bob Rozett
Board President
Judy Furlong
Vice President
Lou Alfred
Treasurer
Alan Hodges
Alan Zada
Dee Case
Penny Stell
Elizabeth Murphy
John Halliday
Mike White
Penny Stell

MUSEUM STAFF

Jen Roger
Executive Director
Maureen Williams
Administration Manager
Beverly Phelan
Curator
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