Collections

The ever-expanding collection spans the years 1834 to the present and contains over 1,000,000 historic photographs, rare books, manuscripts, maps, architectural records, plein air paintings, and more. Significant collections include: the J. Allen Hawkins Photo Collection, the Pasadena Black History Collection, the Sylvanus Marston Architectural Collection, and the Ernest A. Batchelder Tile Collection and Archives. The Museum’s collections also contain significant artifacts and textiles relevant to the history of the area. Objects from the Museum’s collections are regularly on display in our changing exhibitions in the History Center.

Hawkins archival photo

Research Library & Archives

PMH maintains the area’s largest and most comprehensive collection of documents and artifacts related to the history of Pasadena and the west San Gabriel valley. The collection spans the years 1834 to the present and contains well over 1,000,000 historic photographs, rare books, manuscripts, maps, architectural records, and more.

California Poppies by Benjamin Brown

Museum Collections

There are over 12,000 artifacts in the object collections. The Museum's collections contain significant paintings and artifacts relevant to the history of the area. Significant collections include the Costume & Textile Collection, the Ernest A. Batchelder Tile Collection, and a mid-century ceramics collection. A selection of fine art and decorative art from the Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Collection can be viewed on the Fenyes Mansion Tour.

 

Batchelder Aztec tiles

Batchelder TILE Registry

PMH has started compiling a registry of Batchelder tile installations throughout the United States and Canada and is asking for assistance from the public. If you have a Batchelder tile fireplace, fountain, or other type installation in your home or office, we would like to hear from you. Please us send a photograph with dimensions of your tile installation and the date of your house/building.

Great History Freeze logo

The GReat History Freeze

The over one-million photographic images in PMH’s Archives are among the Museum’s most valuable resources. In spite of careful preservation efforts, however, many of them are deteriorating at a rate that will destroy them completely within 20 years. Freezing the negatives puts them in a chemically inert state, limits off-gassing, and is cost effective. To date, around 56,000 negatives have been frozen.

Research Library & Archives Hours

Complimentary Access
Thursday through Sunday
1:00 to 4:00 pm*

No appointment necessary.

*Please note that the entire Museum is closed on all major holidays. Check our calendar for specific dates.

Artifact Donations

The Museum’s collections have developed over the years through the generosity of donors. We do not have staff available for “walk-in” donation evaluations. If you have artifacts that you would like to donate to the Object Collection or Costume & Textile Collection, contact the Collections Manager at 626.577.1660, ext. 21 or mturner@pasadenahistory.org. If you have historically significant materials that you would like to donate to the Archives, please contact the Archivist at 626.577.1660, ext. 12 or research@pasadenahistory.org.

Recent Articles

E.A. Batchelder, sketch of a thatched cottages in Campden, August 16, 1905. Image courtesy of Archives, Pasadena Museum of History (BFP.1.16)

Ernest Batchelder’s European Sketches

Ernest Batchelder is renowned for the distinctive softly-hued tiles his firm produced during the early twentieth century.  These tiles, which adorn public, commercial, and private …

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A hedge of Cherokee Roses on Arlington Drive

Early Pasadena: An Astonishing Garden of Flowers

Early Pasadena was often described by visitors as a paradise.  Webster defined paradise as “any place … of blissful delights,” and one of the delights …

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Helouan, March 1895, watercolor on paper, 24.6 x 33.2 cm, Helouan, Egypt. (ESF.007.1839))

Leaving the Past Behind & Starting Anew in Pasadena

“Dr. Adalbert Fenyes, wife, and daughter of New York City are recent arrivals in Pasadena, and have taken the Darling house on Grand avenue for …

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Detail of letter from KLB Radio listener

KLB Radio: Pasadena’s First Radio Station

In the early 1920s Americans all over the country were falling under the spell of the newest novelty, amateur radio broadcasting. It was sometimes referred …

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