On May 6, 1885, Margaret E. Crocker presented the Crocker art gallery building, the grounds, and the E. B. Crocker Collection "in trust for the public" to the City of Sacramento and the California Museum Association (now the Crocker Art Museum Association). In doing so, she established a precedent-setting structure of a public-private partnership to oversee the Museum and its collection.To thank Margaret for this incredible gift to the people of Sacramento, city leaders planned a Floral Festival on the day the gallery and collection were presented. The Festival drew a reported 20,000 visitors from within the region and abroad. Acknowledged as the largest such event of its day, the Festival was described in at least one account as larger and more splendid than any held to honor Queen Victoria.
Articles detailing the event appeared in newspapers throughout California and Nevada and as far away as New York. The newly opened State Agricultural Pavilion, situated on the grounds of the State Capitol, provided the stage for the festivities. The first round of ceremonies focused on school children with a program of songs, recitations, a Maypole Dance and floral presentations. The evening program featured the formal gift of the art gallery building and collection, which was celebrated with speeches, concerts and dancing until midnight. The Museum continues to build upon the Crocker family legacy by collecting and exhibiting work representing all media, time periods and cultures. This furthers the spirit of the Crockers' love of art and their intention to develop a center for its appreciation in California.