The construction of the California Auto Museum was established in 1982 by a group of volunteers working at automobile industries in Sacramento. The volunteers gathered to conceptualize a museum where they can exhibit various car models. The museum was formally launched in 1983 by a non-profit organization in Sacramento. The museum opened after the establishment of the California Vehicle Foundation (CVF) in October 1983.
The Museum was named after the slogan, “On the Road to Car Museum” by the volunteers. CVF conducted weekly meetings to further discuss the development of the auto museum. The first automobile donated for the exhibit is the 1938 Buick Sedan by Golden One Credit Union chairman John Joyce. In 1985, a banker based from Montana named Edward Towe sent a letter to the CVF regarding the interest of his company to donate Ford model collection of cars for exhibit. The museum was re-launched in May 1987 under the ownership of Towe. In 2009, the CVF Board of Directors changed the museum’s name after finding out that the place no longer houses the Ford collection by Towe. The directors officially named the place as “California Auto Museum.”
The Auto Museum currently displays a wide variety of eye-catching automobile models from different generations. According to the museum’s executive director Karen McClafin, 25% of the vehicles being displayed at the museum are owned by the CVF, while 40% of the other vehicles were donated by unnamed professionals, prominent public figures and ordinary citizens in California and other places. The auto museum is opened daily to public from 10 AM to 6 PM and it is closed during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. The museum recently hosted the “Going Green on Earth Day.” The event featured a wide display of environment-friendly automobile models.