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

The Museum’s Reading Room & Archives are closed until further notice.

While the Reading Room & Archives is closed, we encourage you to search the photograph collections of PMH and other institutions on the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration website.

Read our full Notice Regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

 

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 mturner@pasadenahistory.org. If you have historically significant materials that you would like to donate to the Archives, please contact the Archivist at  research@pasadenahistory.org.

Recent Articles

Figurine, Story Book Hour. Marked: Story Book Hour/Florence Ceramics/Pasadena/ California/©. 6.75 in high, 8.5 in wide (Gift of Doug Foland, 2010.008.023)

Florence Ceramics

Pasadenan Florence Ward (1898-1991) began taking art classes as a way of coping with the death of one of her sons in 1939. Encouraged by …

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The Stuart home at the corner of Terrace and Howard (later renamed Green) sometime after it was moved in 1893.

House Moving in 1893 Style

On March 18, 1893 one of the local news items that the Pasadena Daily Evening Star cited was: “H.I. Stuart, of the First National bank, …

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A postcard view looking north from the live oak tree at the intersection of California and Orange Grove.

A Tale of Two Trees

Pasadena has long been noted for its beautiful tree-lined streets, but the original landscape was a largely treeless plain, with a few native live oaks. …

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Family of Dan Woods, uncle of Benjamin McAdoo (BH-L-24-9)

Community Histories: The Black History Collection

Pasadena Museum of History’s Black History Collection is comprised of photographs, letters, family records, property deeds, and other materials revealing the history of the African …

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