Events Calendar


Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live!
Saturday, September 24, 2016, 11:00am – 5:00pm
Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live!

RSVP (please print your tickets to receive free admission):

Join the California Historical Society in celebrating Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day! Enjoy free admission to our exhibitions, Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew and Sensationalist Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73. Click on the link above and download a ticket

Learn more about Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live here.

The Modoc Stronghold after Its Capture, from the series The Modoc War, 1873
The Modoc Stronghold after Its Capture, from the series The Modoc War, 1873
Eadweard Muybridge, photographer
Albumen stereograph
Bradley & Rulofson, publisher
California Historical Society, PC-RM-Stereos_1618.jpg
Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 6:00pm
Modoc War Photographs: How Native Americans Represented National Anxieties about Race, Democracy, and Expansion in Post-Civil War Era

$10 General Admission, $5 CHS Members and Educators


This talk will broadly explore how Native Americans were depicted in nineteenth-century American photography and the function of these photographs as sites of anthropological study, as well as their documentary and illustrational uses. Using the Modoc War photographs as a case study, the talk will also address how photographs of Native Americans represented national anxieties and debates about race, democracy, and expansion in the post-Civil War era.

Makeda Best is an Assistant Professor in Visual Studies at the California College of the Arts. A historian photography, she has a special interest in war photography and has written most recently on contemporary soldier photography and photography and the atomic bomb. Her current book project is on American photography of the Civil War era.

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 6:00pm
An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 – Presentation and Discussion

Location: Presidio Officers Club, Moraga Hall, 50 Moraga Avenue on the Main Post, San Francisco, CA, 94129

Free Event


Join historian Benjamin Madley and Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and author Greg Sarris for a discussion about the historical and contemporary effects of California Indian genocide on the state and its Native tribes. Madley will first discuss his new book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873 and then discussion with Sarris the book's themes, California Indian genocide in general, and how this history continues to affect tribes today.

Benjamin Madley is associate professor of History and chair of American Indian Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. He focuses on the histories of Native America, the United States, and genocide in world history. He holds a B.A., M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University and an M.St. from Oxford University. Greg Sarris received his Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. He is the editor of Grand Avenue (1994), an award-winning collection of short stories, which he adapted for an HBO miniseries and co-executive produced with Robert Redford. He is Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and is currently Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Endowed Chair of Sonoma State University, where he teaches Creative Writing, American Literature, and American Indian Literature.

In partnership with Presidio Trust and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Artist Spotlight – Sarah Biscarra Dilley
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Artist Spotlight – Sarah Biscarra Dilley

Free event


Join us on Third Thursdays for a presentation by artist, Sarah Biscarra Dilley. She will discuss several of her art projects, the collective Black Salt Collective, and take questions from the audience.

SARAH BISCARRA DILLEY (chumash + chicana) is a multi-disciplinary artist, bruja, ‘axi. Her work explores the spaces between the worlds; between blood sickness and bloodlines, between grief and joy, between body and land, between the spatial and the temporal. She is anchored in the intention and practices of indigenous resurgence: through cartographic upheaval, through contradiction, through complexity, through communion. Using found footage, cut paper, archival material, handwork, language and thread, she traces a landscape of indigenous resilience and shifting relationships of belonging, displacement, and home. Her work and words have been exhibited nationally and internationally, individually and with Black Salt Collective She is full of birds.

At 5:00pm and 7:00pm take a docent tour through our exhibitions, Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew and Sensationalist Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73. Docent tours last 30–40 minutes.

History, Identity, Photography – Tintype Artists Ed Drew and Will Wilson in Discussion
(Left) Zig Jackson, Citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Professor of Photography, Savannah College of Art and Design. Photo by William Wilson); (Right) Ed Drew, Plummie, 2014–15, Tintype, courtesy of the artist and Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco
Thursday, November 3, 2016, 6:00pm
History, Identity, Photography – Tintype Artists Ed Drew and Will Wilson in Discussion

$5 for CHS Members, $10 General Admission


Join us for a fascinating discussion between two photographers who use the historic and unique tintype process to create thought-provoking images that challenge historic and contemporary perspectives of Native Americans. Ed Drew, the tintype photographer featured in our exhibition Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew will discuss how he got into the field and the medium and about his project, People of the Klamath. William Wilson, a Diné tintype photographer featured in museums including Portland Art Museum and Denver Art Museum, and galleries and museums all over the South and North West, will discuss how he got into photography and chose the tintype as his medium, and about his project, The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX).

Ed Drew was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and joined the military in 1999 two days after his eighteenth birthday. He has served for six years in the active duty Air Force and six years in the California Air National Guard as a Staff Sergeant and helicopter gunner on Combat Search and Rescue helicopters stationed in Moffett Field, near Mountain View, California. He is also a recent graduate of San Francisco Art Institute, where he received a BFA majoring in Sculpture and minoring in Photography. He has worked in many private collections as well as the Nelson Atkins Museum in Missouri. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

William (Will) Wilson is a Diné photographer who spent his formative years living in the Navajo Nation and is currently program head of photography at the Santa Fe Community College. Born in San Francisco in 1969, Wilson studied photography at the University of New Mexico (Dissertation Tracked MFA in Photography, 2002) and Oberlin College (BA, Studio Art and Art History, 1993). In 2007, Wilson won the Native American Fine Art Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum and in 2010 was awarded a prestigious grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. He has held visiting professorships at the Institute of American Indian Arts (1999–2000), Oberlin College (2000–2001), and the University of Arizona (2006–2008). From 2009 to 2011, he managed the National Vision Project, a Ford Foundation-funded initiative at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, and helped to coordinate the New Mexico Arts Temporary Installations Made for the Environment (TIME) program on the Navajo Nation. He is part of the Science and Arts Research Collaborative (SARC), which brings together artists interested in using science and technology in their practice with collaborators from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia Labs as part of the International Symposium on Electronic Arts, 2012 (ISEA). Currently, Wilson's work can be seen at the Portland Art Museum in Contemporary Native American Photographers and the Edward S. Curtis Legacy, Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson.

Community Day
Community Day
Saturday, November 12, 2016, 11:00am - 5:00pm
Community Day

Free Event

Please RSVP:

Join us in celebration of our exhibitions with an all-day free event that includes crafts, pop-up talks, docent tours, special tabling guests, and so much more!

November 12 Schedule of Events:

  • 11:00AM-1:00PM Tule Canoes with Peopleologie

    Limited supply, first come, first served

  • 12:00PM-12:30PM Youth Speaks

    Hear amazing spoken word works inspired by CHS' exhibitions.

  • 1:00PM-2:00PM Music with Almas Fronterizas

    Bridging a sound that is as much for the Oakland/San Francisco back streets as the ceremonial prayer houses to the glow of LA and back to the people of the rural tribal reservations across the Mexico/United States border.

  • 2:00-2:30PM A is for Acorn Read and Show with Artist Lyn Riesling

  • 3:00PM-3:30PM First Exposures Pop-Up Talk

    Listen to the First Exposures Staff discuss their work and how it has grown as well as hear from Mentors and Mentees about the impact First Exposures has had on their lives and work.

Tabling Guests Include:

  • News from Native California

  • StoryCorps

The event will be photographed. By attending the event you are providing CHS consent to take photos around you or of you. Please inform a CHS staff member at the event if you do not feel comfortable being photographed.

In partnership with News from Native California

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