Since 1924, the Pasadena Museum of History has been the only institution that has an extensive amount of collections and resources that are relevant to Pasadena’s history. In the late 1800s, the Indiana Colony decided to settle around the Arroyo Seco. Since then, people have collected items an information that provides the modern day world with what life was like in the early stages of Pasadena.

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© Pasadena Museum of History

Then, a group of influential members in Pasadena’s society decided to create a special society where those artifacts could be shared. So, the Pasadena Historical Society was created in 1924.

Although generous people donated small space to be used by the Pasadena Historical Society, the special historical artifacts had not been properly showcased until 1958. In 1958 the Pasadena Public Library allowed the society to house their collections. Approximately 12 years later, the Palheimo family granted the Pasadena Historical Society two acres of land on the Fenyes Estate. This is the current location of the Pasadena Museum of History. In recent years, the Pasadena Museum of History has created a specific history building, which acts as a large and extensive research library.

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2.Permanent Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits
© Pasadena Museum of History

The Pasadena Museum of History has approximately ten permanent attractions, which all represent the rich and significant history of the city of Pasadena. Fenyes-Curtin-Palohemio Collection features historical artifacts of the Fenyes, Curtin, and Palohemio families. Each of these families were extremely influential in the history of Pasadena. Although the pieces of art, furniture, and books that came from each household are interesting, the most historically significant pieces in this collection are the letters and paper documents.

Costume and Textile Collection showcases pieces of clothing and accessories that date back from 1859 to 1970. Out of the 3,000 garments in this collection, majority of them come from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. By exploring the Costume and Textile Collection, visitors will have the chance to see how fashion integrates with history.

Object Collection is home to a variety of objects that serve as historical artifacts of Pasadena. There are a variety of paintings, pottery, and business artifacts within this collection.

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3.Special Exhibitions

Special Exhibitions
© Pasadena Museum of History

Although the Pasadena Museum of History does not house traveling art collections, it does have special attractions that come and go throughout the year. Most of these special attractions come from donations from historical societies, collectors, or families who were influential in Pasadena’s history. In order to obtain an up to date list of the special attractions at the Pasadena Museum of History, check out the museum’s website. Currently, the museum has two special attractions.

Batchelder: Tilemaker is located within the Kathryne Beynon Foundation Exhibition Hall and features tiles from Ernest A. Batchelder. Robert Winter has one of the most comprehensive collections of Batchelder’s work, and donated some of his collection to the Pasadena Museum of History. The exhibit will be available until February 12, 2017.

Cast & Fired: Pasadena’s Mid-Century Ceramics Industry features pottery and ceramics that were created during the mid-twentieth century. During this time, Southern California experienced a boom in clay deposits and the pottery and ceramic industry. This special attraction is located in the Kathryne Beynon Foundation Exhibition Hall and will be showcased until February 12, 2017.

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4.Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities
© Pasadena Museum of History

Unlike most museums, the Pasadena Museum of History does not have many educational opportunities. One of the largest educational opportunities at the Pasadena Museum of History is the Research Library & Archives. The Research Library & Archives is open free to the public from 1pm to 4pm on Thursdays to Sundays. Although admission and use of the Research Library & Archives are free, the library does charge for scanning and mailing the research you found.

Another educational program that the Pasadena Museum of History has is the Membership Program. There are two levels to the Membership Program: Active and Friend. Active membership costs $50 and Friend membership costs $75. The difference between the Active and Friend memberships is that the Friend membership includes a 20% discount that can be used at the museum store and four guest passes that can be used by anyone you know. Other than that, the memberships are the same.

If you purchase a membership you get unlimited admission to the Pasadena Museum of History, as well as access to special events and classes that are for members only. Also, the Membership Program offers you benefits that can be used at over 200 museums and historical institutions. Thus, you have an abundant amount of information and exploration at the tip of your fingers.

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470 W Walnut St, Pasadena, CA, Phone: 626-577-1660

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Things to Do in Pasadena, CA: Pasadena Museum of History