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. Major collections include the Costume & Textile Collection, the Ernest A. Batchelder Tile Collection, and a mid-century ceramics collection. Objects from the Museum’s collections are regularly on display in our changing exhibitions in the History Center. A selection of fine art and decorative art from the Fényes-Curtin-Paloheimo Collection can be viewed on the Fényes Mansion Tour.

NOW ON VIEW: Community Stitches: Quilt Designs & Stories
HOURS: Exhibition Galleries & Museum Store Wed-Sun 12-5 pm | Research Library Fri-Sun 1-4 pm

FENYES-CURTIN-PALOHEIMO COLLECTIONS                                       

These collections reflect the history of these families and their relationship to Pasadena. The Fényes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers are comprised of the paper collection housed in and accessed through the Research Library and Archives. (View the Fényes-Curtin-Paloheimo index) The Fényes Collection is comprised of the contents of the Fényes Mansion, both on display and in storage. It includes books, textiles, household objects, decorative arts, and fine arts.  It is made available through docent-led tours, by appointment, or in special exhibits.

Biographical sketches, based on research in the Fényes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers and published online, can be accessed on the Hometown Pasadena website. Browse articles by Julie Stires and Sheryl Peters. Fényes-related articles can also be found on our Blog.

silver bowl by Clemens Friedell

Anderson Typewriter Company receipt

Watercolor by Eva Scott Fényes

California Poppies by Benjamin Brown

Fur cape belonging to Leonora Paloheimo

Photograph of Adalbert Fényes' insectorium

Sewing kit from the early 1900s

Leather purse circa 1950

1920s cloche hat

Detail of wedding ring quilt

1890s bodice with brocade

1950s wedding gown

COSTUME AND TEXTILE COLLECTION                                                

This collection contains over 3,000 textiles dating from 1859 to 1970, with the majority of the collection dating from 1880 to 1920. The collection is stored archival boxes in a climate-controlled room. Most of the items have a Pasadena or San Gabriel Valley provenance. The costume collection is strong in the area of women’s formal wear, but there are also examples of shoes, hats, handbags, parasols, fur pieces, uniforms, bathing suits, coats, shawls, gloves, handkerchiefs, underwear, stockings and jewelry for women, men, and children. There are separate collections of antique buttons, political and civic badges and ribbons, and quilts. Some noteworthy items in the collection include a Charles Frederick Worth gown, circa 1880; several Rose Queen gowns from the Tournament of Roses; a Red Cross nurse’s uniform and an aviator’s uniform from World War I; and a boy’s Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, circa 1880.

There are approximately three dozen quilts, including several late nineteenth century crazy quilts.

This collection is available to the public by appointment only or when on display.

OBJECT COLLECTION                                                                           

This collection reflects the various eras in Pasadena’s history through utilitarian, decorative and fine art materials. Holdings include silver used in the dining rooms of Pasadena’s resort hotels; Winfield pottery; paintings and watercolors, especially portraiture and plein air paintings; sports memorabilia; early technology and other business artifacts.

The objects in the Museum storage are used in special exhibits and are available to the public when on display or by appointment.

Elmer Grey office sign

Batchelder musician corbel

Hotel Maryland silverware

Figurine by Florence ceramics

Catalina Island by Jae Giddings Carmichael

Football necklace made by Avon