Pasadena Museum of History

The Pasadena Museum of History is the region’s only museum and research library devoted exclusively to showcasing and interpreting Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley’s rich cultural heritage. PMH provides free access to its Research Library & Archives as well as free admission to its regularly rotating exhibitions, events, talks, docent-led tours, and school tours.

About 50 years after the first members of the Indiana Colony landed along the banks of the Arroyo Seco, in 1924, the Pasadena Historical Society (which would later become PMH) was established. The primary goal was, and still is, to collect, conserve, and display artifacts related to the city’s early history and its creation. In 1924, when the collections filled only one filing cabinet, this was an audacious and forward-thinking mission statement.

In 1932, a chamber was built within the Civic Auditorium exclusively for the museum’s collection. It outgrew its original location in 1958, so its volunteer staff relocated to the Pasadena Public Library.

The Paloheimo family donated two acres of land in Pasadena, CA in 1970, and the Museum has called the Fenyes Estate, a Pasadena Cultural Landmark and National Historic Landmark, home since then.

Phase I of the Museum’s History Center building was completed in 1993, and it now serves as home to the Research Library and climate-controlled archives for the Museum’s substantial collections. The History Center Galleries, Giddings Conference Room, Museum Store, and Administrative Offices make up the 2000-completed second phase of the project.

Many of the Fenyes family’s personal items and furnishings are still present in their historic mansion, which was finished in 1907. Robert Farquhar was commissioned to construct the building by Eva Scott Fenyes, an art patron and talented artist in her own right.

Curtin House, a beautiful French-style townhouse designed in 1915 by Sylvanus Marston, and the Finnish Folk Art Museum, a building designed by Frederick Roehrig and converted by Consul Paloheimo for use as a sauna/guest house, are also among the Museum’s historic properties.

Shop for unique artwork, gifts, and books inspired by the Museum’s exhibitions and collections, as well as works by local artists and publications about Pasadena and the surrounding area.

In addition to PMH books, the shop features a rotating selection of Pasadena-centric gifts and souvenirs. Images, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, and textiles by local artists rank among the most notable.

California Institute of Technology
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