GRADE-SCHOOL EXCITEMENT: The time you spent learning about state history as a kid can be some of the most important time spent in school. That's subjective, of course, but consider that the intensive months spent on your state's past are very often accompanied by a field trip or two, to the locations mentioned in your textbooks. Pretty much every adult remembers the field trips of their youth, yep yep. Ask a grown-up about a long-past field trip and you're very likely to get a detailed description of the day, what was worn, what was learned, and the bus ride back to school. Field trips are big memory-makers for children, is what we're saying, and because they so often complement the state history curriculum, many people tend to have a great handle on their region's past.
STATE CAPITOL CAPITAL: Much of the intellectual and artistic and technological storehouse of California's past resides in Sacramento, which makes sense. It's home to many Gold Rush-related sites -- hi, Sutter's Fort -- and the Governor's Mansion and the western terminus for the Pony Express. It's hard to throw a rock -- or perhaps something softer, like a leaf, so damage isn't done -- and not hit an institution with "state" in its name. And it is for this reason, and many others, that Sacramento Museum Day is pretty darn tootin' important.
THE HAPPENINGS: The date is Saturday, Feb. 1, and the attractive upshot? Some 28 museums'll go free and two -- the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town -- will offer half-priced admission. And on the list of 28? The California Aerospace Museum, the California State Capitol Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the State Indian Museum, and Wells Fargo History Museum. You can bet that a host of special events'll be going down at particular places, too, in honor of the day. Even if you can't make the Feb. 1 to-do, we ask you this: Has it been too long since the social-study-esque field trips of your youth? This may be the year to reignite that love for local learning.