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Overview Outline

Welcome to the Oakland Museum of California's exciting new curriculum units - Myth & Reality: The California Gold Rush and Its Legacy. Curriculum units have been developed for grades four, five, eight and eleven and explore in depth one of the defining events of our country's history - the California Gold Rush.

Today's rapidly evolving technology and concerns with the environment, immigration, civil rights and ethnic diversity are closely related to California's Gold Rush beginnings. Our Gold Rush curricula present this historic era and its far-reaching legacy in documents and images created at the time and on the spot -- journals, letters, newspaper accounts, daguerreotypes (an early form of photography), drawings, cartoons, works of art and more. Working with these incomparable primary source materials, students can discover for themselves the previously untold stories of the Gold Rush.

All the curriculum units correlate with the History-Social Science Framework for the California Public Schools and the State Board of Education-approved History-Social Science Standards at each grade level. Each volume of the curricula contains:

  • at least four weeks of daily teaching materials
  • 45 pages of students worksheets for exploring primary source materials
  • 84 pages of historical background material for teachers
  • high-quality color and black-and-white transparencies of paintings and daguerreotypes (early photographs)
  • numerous letters and journal accounts from the Gold Rush era
  • SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) teaching strategies
  • activities for strengthening students' visual literacy skills

Overview of the Units
In all units, students will learn a more inclusive story about the Gold Rush, including the roles of women, children and diverse peoples.
Fourth-grade Volume I includes the journey to California by sea and the growth of the state as a cultural and industrial center as the result of the Gold Rush. Fourth-grade Volume II includes life in the mines, the impact on the environment and the evolution of technology.
Fifth-grade students will explore the overland journey to California.
Eighth-grade students, in the unit on westward expansion, will learn the role of the Gold Rush in that great migration, with an emphasis on the impact of the Gold Rush in the development of California; the role of manifest destiny in the Gold Rush; and the effects on the natural landscape.
Eleventh-grade students, in the unit on immigration and civil rights, will learn how the rich racial and cultural diversity of contemporary California had its origins in the Gold Rush.

Teacher training in the new curricula is ongoing, taking place now through the end of 1999.

The actual binders contain color transparencies of art works reproduced at a significantly higher resolution than that of web-site images.

These far-ranging and highly investigative curriculum materials were developed by the Oakland Museum of California with support from the California Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The curricula were developed as part of GOLD RUSH! California Untold Stories, a six-month commemoration at the Oakland Museum of California of the rich history and enduring legacy of the California old Rush. The Oakland Museum of California's GOLD RUSH! commemoration was designated a Golden Partner by the California Gold Discovery to Statehood Sesquicentennial Commission.


GOLD FEVER! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush will be on view

  • at Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento
    August 1 through October 31, 1999.


Presenting Sponsors
The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Clorox Company Foundation, Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, City of Oakland, California Department of Education, and Oakland Museum Women's Board.

Major Sponsors
Walter & Elise Haas Fund, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, F.E. Corder, Levi Strauss Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, The Rockefeller Foundation, The L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, and Transamerica Foundation.

Contributing Sponsors
APL Limited, Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, Oakland Museum History Guild, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Stephens, Union Bank of California, Chevron, David and Lyn Anderson, California Arts Council, California Council for the Humanities, Christie's Crosby Heafy Roach & May, Helen F. Novy, Pacific Bell Foundation, Steven Read, Albert Shumate, William F. Weeden, and members and friends of the Oakland Museum of California.

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