New Home Update

11 Sep

New Home California Automobile Museum Sniders Natural History Museum

What’s Going On?

We know you’ve been reading and hearing a lot these days about the plans for our new building, so we wanted to send you a special informational email with “the real scoop.”


Paul and Renee Snider, local philanthropists and car lovers, approached us a few years ago about locating a new museum they wanted to open near us in the Docks Area or perhaps even co-locating in the same building, as they knew we were looking for a new facility/location.  We looked in the McClellan Park area, Richards Blvd and elsewhere before finally striking a deal with the City to purchase our current property and build a new facility at our existing location.

The Sniders generously committed to paying for both the property and the cost of construction of the new 180,000 square foot facility that would house both the California Automobile Museum as well as the new Natural History Museum.  The current plan is for the Auto Museum to occupy approximately 2/3 of the space (100,000 square feet) and the Natural History Museum to occupy approximately 50,000 square feet.  We will then have shared spaces such as bathrooms, elevators, foyers, event areas, etc.


Obviously, this is a huge gift for us, and we will only need to be responsible to fund the tenant improvements we decide to make to create an auto museum atmosphere.  They will lease the building to us for 99 years at $1/year, and we are currently working on an Operating Agreement between the two museums. This is the kind of offer that comes along once in a lifetime.  The Sniders are willing to donate $15 million+ toward a new home for the Auto Museum and their collection – an offer most museums only dream about!

The Sniders have hired a team of people to work on the project, including an architect, developer, museum designer, public relations, urban planner and more.  We had hoped to be able to pull permits by the end of the year, but after presenting our plan to the City Planning & Design Commission, are now realizing the process will take much more time than that, so we are slowing down our timetable.

During this “slow-down,” we are working fast and furiously to do community outreach, make changes to the current plan based on recommendations from the Planning and Design Commission, and develop a more comprehensive strategy to get us through the minefield of  challenges that come with a project such as this.


Our plan is to work on the interior and exterior of the facility during the next few weeks, continue to meet with City staff to coordinate the project, do a lot of community outreach to various groups like Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, Metro Chamber, Broadway Partnership, Downtown Partnership, Sacramento Animal Shelter, and more.

If you would like to help, we have listed some opportunities to the right.  We will be continuing to update you via email, and you can also visit the Project Website for further information.

Other Natural History Museums Across the Country

Chicago’s Field Museum

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Los Angeles Natural History Museum

San Diego Natural History Museum

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History – New York

California Academy of Sciences

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Additional Info

Project Overview


Talking Points

Sacramento Waterfront Museums Project Website

Letter from Paul & Renee Snider

Planning Commission Video

Humane Society’s Plan

In the News

Sacramento Business Journal 7/10

CBS Ch 13

Note: the SacBee stories are sensationalized and in many cases downright wrong, but we are including them anyway for your information:

Sacramento Bee 7/11  – Original Story

Sacramento Bee 7/11 – Planning Commission Coverage

Sacramento Bee 7/12

Sacramento Bee Editorial 7/19 Blog 7/22

Sacramento Bee  7/23

Business Journal 7/25

Hemmings 9/9