Begun in 1904, the new Chico Public Library (Carnegie Library) opened in the spring of 1905. The red brick building had an octagonal tower crowned with a "witch's cap" roof. It reflected various styles popular at the end of the 19th century, particularly Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival.
In 1939 the library was extensively remodeled, the tower was torn down and the bricks were covered with pinkish-beige cement. The use of brightly colored glazed tile along with wrought-iron railings and decoratively stenciled beams gave the building a distinctly Mediterranean appearance.
After the library moved to a new location in 1981, the building was remodeled for use as a museum. The remodeling was completed January 8, 1986 and the museum was officially opened to the public on February 22, 1986.
Since that time work as been done to improve its use as a museum 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.
The mission of the Chico Museum is to acquire, conserve, research and communicate the rich history of Chico for the education and enjoyment of the community.