Exploring Pasadena

PMH launched Exploring Pasadena on June 19, 2021 in commemoration of the City’s 135th anniversary. This wide-ranging, multi-year initiative encourages residents and visitors alike to discover the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty through varied in-person and virtual offerings throughout the year.

Exploring Our Community

Pasadena is filled with scenic vistas, natural beauty, iconic structures, historic sites, and diverse neighborhoods. In honor of the City’s 135th anniversary on June 19th, 2021 (Pasadena was incorporated on that date in 1886), PMH announced a wide-ranging, multi-year initiative to encourage residents and visitors alike to explore the region through multiple offerings and discover the stories behind the people, places, and things that have been instrumental in creating this unique community.

Exploring Pasadena includes visual and aural presentations, guided tours, participatory games, unique lectures, hands-on workshops, and more. All offerings will be featured on this page as well as in the media and on social media platforms.

Space is limited; advance reservations required.

Remember! You can also explore Pasadena's fascinating past at your convenience through the Blogs and Videos on our website.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, August 13 | 10AM-Noon

Exploring Pasadena on Foot:
Art Deco

Penn Oil Building at 100 West Union, 1930s; pmh_T8-53

Admission: General: $25 | PMH Members: $20

Location: This tour will start at One Colorado (41 Hugus Alley, Pasadena, CA 91103) and end at the Pasadena Playhouse (39 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101), which is about a 15–20-minute walk back to the starting point. It will mainly hug Colorado Blvd, with a couple of diversions north and south.

Step back in time with your tour guide Julia Long to explore century-old design treasures in Pasadena’s oldest commercial districts. While the city is well-known as an architectural destination, often citing its craftsman bungalows and masterworks of prominent architects, today we’ll traverse Old Pasadena and the Playhouse Village of the 1920s & ‘30s, focusing on stunning Art Deco and Streamline Moderne designs that added their sparkle to the architectural mix.

Slip into your snazziest spectators and join us for a stroll!

Friday, September 9 | 7PM

Exploring Pasadena:
The Original Busch Gardens

Stoneridge Drive 110 years ago. Sculpted terraces, cactus garden, tree trunk benches, curbs with drainage grates. Courtesy of Michael Logan.

Admission: General: $25 | PMH Members: $20

Illustrated Presentation & Book Signing with Historian/Author Michael Logan

Presentation will begin at 7:00 pm; PMH Galleries will be open for viewing at 6:00 pm.

BOOK INFORMATION: The Original Busch Gardens: Adolphus Busch’s Gift to Pasadena, California will be available to purchase at the program. It features interviews with individuals who experienced Busch Gardens first-hand; maps and historic timelines; and images and stories from a wide variety of sources, including the Anheuser Busch archives in St. Louis, the Busch family, and Pasadena Museum of History.

Anheuser Busch Brewing Association President and “Captain of Industry” Adolphus Busch’s spectacular Busch Gardens in Pasadena captivated visitors from the day it opened to the public in 1906 until the attraction’s closure in 1938. With terraced hillsides, waterfalls and ponds, miles of scenic paths, and enchanting fairytale statuary, the original Busch Gardens was one of Southern California’s first mega-parks and a world-famous tourist attraction.

PMH is excited to welcome back author and historian Michael Logan for another fascinating presentation on his wide-ranging research and exploration into Pasadena’s original Busch Gardens. Join Michael as he shares unique stories and images that will transport participants back to the Gardens’ in all their glory.

In 2001, Pasadena residents and historians Michael Logan and the late Gary Cowles teamed up to launch the most comprehensive research ever done on the Gardens. They co-curated a popular exhibit at Pasadena Museum of History to celebrate the Garden’s centennial. Now, after an eighteen year-long journey into the history and lore of this nearly-forgotten treasure, Logan is back once more – this time for an in-person presentation – celebrating the publication of his ground-breaking 200-page book on the topic.

Saturday, September 10 | 10AM-Noon

Exploring Pasadena on Foot:
Botanical Pasadena

Admission: General: $25 | PMH Members: $20

Orange Grove Ave with tree. Postcard Collection

Location: This tour will begin and end at Arlington Garden (275 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105).

Explore the multi-layered roots of Pasadena through its foliage and flowers on this two-hour tour around Arlington Drive and Orange Grove Blvd. with tour guide Julia Long.

Pasadena is known as the “City of Roses.” But what about the camellias? Or pepper trees? Or succulents? The wide range of plants and trees surrounding us in Pasadena are a virtual time machine, helping us to understand historical trends, conceptions (and MISconceptions) about our climate, as well as the hidden stories of the people who shaped the landscape and lived their lives within it.

Thursday, September 22 | 7PM

Becoming Caltech: Building a Research Community

Commencement in Front of Gates Laboratory, June 8, 1923. Photo by Keystone Photo. Caltech Archives and Special Collections.

Admission: General: $15 | PMH Members: $10

Join Caltech University Archivist Peter Sachs Collopy, PhD for this presentation on how Caltech transformed from a manual and liberal arts school to a world-renowned science and engineering institute.

Founded in 1891 as Throop University, it offered a wide range of courses from elementary school to carpentry and sewing. In the 1910s and 1920s, the school dramatically reinvented itself, focusing on engineering and then on scientific research–while also turning its attention to military training during World War I. Explore the evolution of this institution and learn about its early transformations.

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