The Jesse Peter Multicultural Museum has an impressive collection of more than 5000 cataloged items, including art objects and archival materials such as photographs. Traditional Native American art makes up the greatest portion of the collection, with all of the North American Indian culture areas represented. Art forms include ceramics, basketry, beadwork, sculpture, textiles, and jewelry.
In addition to Native American art of North America, the museum also has a growing collection of ethnographic art from Mesoamerica, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The museum was originally named for Jesse Peter, a native of Santa Rosa, who taught in the local public schools. He was a naturalist, collector, and explorer and made expeditions to the American Southwest in the 1930s to collect geological specimens for the University of California and Native American art for Santa Rosa Junior College. Some of the museum's ceramic treasures, by such artists as Lucy Lewis (Acoma) and Nampeyo (Hopi), were collected by Mr. Peter during that time.
In 2007, the museum underwent a major renovation that virtually recreated the museum, nearly tripling the exhibit space. Along with the renovation came a name change, new museum Director, and slight shift in the museum's vision. Multicultural education is now the central focus of the museum.