In a sprawling Sacramento warehouse sit more than a million artifacts from California State Parks. They include a dog treadmill used to churn butter, a four-barrel shotgun for hunting waterfowl and old train lights and whistles.
The opening of the Museum Collections Center is the first celebration of the system’s 150th Anniversary. But it’s been a rough few years for the department. In 2012, it was discovered officials deliberately hid $20 million. An audit this year reveals continuing problems with budgeting and personnel.
But the department’s Vicky Waters said things are getting better. She points to the use of volunteers as an example.
“The volunteers actually gave us about, over one million hours. So that actually saves us a lot of money and staff time," she said. "So we are looking at being innovative, being more efficient with the way that we do things."
An advisory group called Parks Forward is also looking at how the parks can improve operations. It will present its findings next year.
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