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

Scrapbook Collection, 112

Organized for a Cause: Social Clubs & Women’s Suffrage

In 2020, PMH joined the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment with two blogs related to a suffrage scrapbook from the museum’s …

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the first lithograph of Pasadena, 1886

West Pasadena in 1886: A Wonderful Little City

1886 was an eventful year in early Pasadena. Incorporation as a city was finalized on June 19, but a transformation from the agricultural village founded …

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Mt Wilson Observatory (MW13-27b)

Lookout Mountain and the Speed of Light

The first lookout tower of the Angeles Forest was erected on Lookout Mountain No. 2 in 1913 and was active until 1927 when it was …

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This photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Day was published with the original article.

Clarence Day: Pasadena Contractor

You see his name stamped in the sidewalks all over town. He is Clarence Parkman Day, who for more than sixty years served Pasadena and …

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