After four years of extensive preparation the Santa Monica History Museum will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, October 24 from 2- 5 p.m. at 1350 7th Street.
The museum will tell the history of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Bay through historical artifacts and exhibits that are featured in a state-of-the-art 5,300 square foot facility that is located within the Santa Monica Main Library (SMML).
The new museum’s architect, Kristina Andresen from Andresen Associates Architects gave the Mirror a preview of its facilities. The museum’s center contains a timeline consisting of four exhibits. The Town In The Headlines features over a half million images from the Evening Outlook which had been a key Santa Monica newspaper for 123 years before it ceased publication in 1998. Also part of the exhibit will be the ability for museum visitors to print their picture on a front page of an Evening Outlook. These specialized front pages were made possible by a donation from the Funk family who were the owners of the Evening Outlook. The Employees Community Fund – a Foundation for Douglas/Boeing of CA employee contributions, underwrote A Town At Work which documents the history of the Donald Douglas Plant at Santa Monica Airport by showcasing a DC-3 cockpit with artifacts.
A Town At Play will feature a model of a roller coaster from the Santa Monica Pier and A Town In The Arts has an exhibit called Then and Now where visitors can view pictures of various city locations in the past and then see a picture of how they look in 2010.
Also part of the museum are paintings and other possessions from the City of Santa Monica’s co-founders Senator John. P. Jones and Robert F. Baker.
All the museum’s spaces, according to Andresen, are “multi-functional,” and technologically state-of-the-art. There are also public spaces for large gatherings and programs and spaces for changing exhibits. A $250,000 donation from Morley Builders funded the museum’s Morley Builders Research Library.
The Mirror also spoke with Louise Gabriel, the museum’s President, CEO and Founder. She and her husband Bob who passed away in 2009 founded the museum in 1976. She explained that the museum had been an “outgrowth of her involvement with the city’s centennial committee.” As a committee member she had the opportunity to work with the descendents of the city’s founders and early pioneers while planning the city’s 1975 centennial celebration. She also mentioned that she has “always loved Santa Monica” so working on the museum became a full-time job as she built up its various collections.
Since it began the museum has had several homes including the Third Street Promenade. Its last home before moving to the SMML location was 1539 Euclid Street. The space at the SMML was planned as a permanent home for the museum. However, when the library opened in January 2006 the museum did not have all the needed funding to fix up the museum space so it remained at the Euclid location. The City of Santa Monica is leasing the library space to the museum for $1 a year.
The museum will be open Tuesday – Saturday. Admission will be $5 for adults and children under 12 will be admitted free. Further information can be found at www.santamonicahistory.org or by calling (310) 395-2290.