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

Pasadena City Hall in the snow, 1949. photo by William Hart (Main Photo Collection, C14-B9)

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

SUB-FREEZING WEATHER COMES IN WITH SNOW screamed the headline in the Pasadena Star News on January 11, 1949. Traffic snarled, kids whooped for joy, and …

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Advertisement in the Pasadena Daily News, Tournament of Roses Edition, 1913. One might imagine Pasadena’s society ladies costumed as saleswomen and conducting The Christmas Shop in these rooms at Boadway Bros. (Tournament of Roses Collection)

Eva Fenyes and Boadway Brothers Department Store

It was an enormous pit, a huge gaping excavation that threatened to undermine Cabrillo Place. The bungalows and shops teetered on the edge of a …

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Christmas Tree Lane at night(Postcard Collection)

Christmas Tree Lane: Celebrating a Century of Holiday Brilliance

One hundred years ago this month, the magnificent Deodar trees on Altadena’s Santa Rosa Avenue were first entwined with multi-colored lights and lit on December …

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Pasadena Star News_25 November 1936_p1

Mrs. Fenyes and the Movies (Part 4 of 4): The Egyptian becomes the Uptown Theater

When Warner’s Egyptian Theater closed its doors in 1935, Henry Warner, one time owner and then manager of the theater, was out of a job. …

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