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.

Black and white photo from the Hawkins Collection

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 Research Library is closed on all major holidays. The Research Library's hours can be affected by the schedule at the Rose Bowl Stadium and special events.

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 historically significant materials you would like to donate, please contact the Museum at 626.577.1660, ext. 12 or research@pasadenahistory.org.

Recent Articles

Eva Fenyes on a burro

Fall 2017 Edition of the Collections Quarterly

  Archives Feature – The Benshoff Collection Our Archives houses the marvelous Benshoff Family Collection, which contains architectural drawings, personal papers, and photographs. William Alton …

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1886 Pasadena photo

Country Living in Pasadena

When Pasadena was incorporated as a city in June, 1886 it was experiencing the beginning of a real estate boom that would transform it from …

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Pasadena Lager

This Round’s on the Collections Manager

A six-pack has been sitting on the corner of my desk for a week and a half. (And no, I wasn’t fired. Granted, I wasn’t promoted either, …

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Sketch by tilemaker Ernest Batchelder

Ernest Batchelder: Educator, Designer and Tilemaker: Part I

  This essay is adapted from the text in the exhibit Batchelder: Tilemaker, which was on view at Pasadena Museum of History from September 2016 …

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