Starting construction in 1904, the new Chico Public Library (Carnegie Library) opened in the spring of 1905. In 1939, the library was extensively remodeled, the tower was torn down and the bricks were covered with pinkish-beige cement. This created a distinctive new look for the building.
In 1981, the library moved to a new location, the building was remodeled for use as a museum. The remodeling was finished in January 1986, and the museum was officially opened to the public in February 1986.
Since reopening as a museum, work as been done to improve its use while at the same time retaining such architectural flairs as the 1939 stenciling and tile work. Today it is one of the finest small museums in California offering group and school tours.