The Santa Monica History Museum has over 1 million items in their historical collection.

Founded in 1975, their mission is to provide education to the public about the unique history of the Santa Monica area. Whether you are a local or just visiting, the museum has made sure to preserve items and memorabilia that you can’t find anywhere else.

Read on to see what all the Santa Monica History Museum to offer!

The Start of It All

The museum was started by local memorabilia and artifacts being donated and gathered by descendants of those who lived in the Santa Monica area at that time.

Examples of some of the artifacts they have collected are:

  • Hershey’s, Santa Monica’s first department store
  • Archives from the Santa Monica Outlook Newspaper that ran from 1875 to 1998
  • Photograph collections of people like Bill Beebe, George Tate, and Bob Smith
  • Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce
  • Personal Collection of Senator John P. Jones (co-founder of Santa Monica)
  • Santa Monica Bank
  • Businessman Charles Tegner

The Santa Monica History Museum boasts 6 total galleries with over 6,000 photographs of Santa Monica History and even a research library.

Santa Monica History Then & Now

The museum has an exhibit where you can see first-hand how the unique landscape of the Santa Monica area has changed over time.

Photographs help visitors see a side-by-side visual comparison of prominent areas of Santa Monica and the progress that has been made through the years. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with this exhibit by using a fun touchscreen device to select the area they want to view.

You could even look at the historical landmark, the Santa Monica Pier, for example.

Celebrate the Tongva People of Santa Monica

An important part of Santa Monica’s history are the Tongva/Gabrielino indigenous people. They occupied the Santa Monica area for around 7,000 years.

The exhibit is called People of the Earth: Life and Culture Tongva.

There are artifacts that have been collected from the Tongva people including musical instruments that they used. There are also other things on display that were used on an everyday basis. For example, hand-woven fishing nets that were made out of a specific milkweed fiber.

Significant figure Toypurina is also highlighted in this exhibit.

Put yourself into Santa Monica Headlines

Have you ever wanted to be on the front page of a newspaper?

You now have the opportunity to put yourself in the headlines of past front page articles from Santa Monica news. There are 5 different possible headlines to immerse yourself in. A camera will take your picture on a green screen and actually puts you into the newspaper-style headline of your choosing.

This is just another way the museum promotes hands-on and interactive learning of Santa Monica History.

The Fun Doesn’t End There

The bustling city of Santa Monica has so much going on. The Santa Monica Museum does an amazing job at displaying the history of this area.

When you are finished understanding what makes this area so unique, check out other fun things to do in the Santa Monica area or swing by Big Dean’s for a post adventure bite!

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