Nonprofit Spotlight: Pasadena Museum of History

As we head into the holiday season (CRAZY, RIGHT?), now is the perfect time to start thinking about charitable giving for 2018. In this new series of blog posts, I will feature nonprofits that I love, within the Los Angeles area! The first organization that I am featuring is the Pasadena Museum of History. You history buffs are SURE to love this place.

How did I find out about them?
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with the Pasadena Museum of History (PMH). Through a meetup group for Pasadena Social Media Group, I was able to connect with a few of the lovely folks from PMH! Before I started my accounting and bookkeeping business I was involved with a few other production companies (in theatre and film). One of those production companies was Skycraft Studios where we produced a short film in tandem with one of the exhibits at PMH. The Batchelder exhibit showcased rare Batchelder tile.

The beautiful waterfall on the grounds of the Pasadena Museum of History

The beautiful waterfall on the grounds of the Pasadena Museum of History

It was a remarkable exhibit deeply rooted in the history of the Bungalow homes that Pasadena is well known for. If you would like, you can view the video here (Bonus: the interviewer is Patt Morrison!).

What is the Pasadena Museum of History, and what is their mission?
On the PMH website it states, “Pasadena Museum of History is the only museum and research library dedicated solely to preserving and sharing West San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena history, art, and culture. The Library and Archives collection includes almost one million historic photographs, manuscripts, books, maps, architectural artifacts, and ephemera.” Their archive library is amazing!

Remember the film production company I mentioned earlier? Well, with that company we produced a short video that was part of their Kickstarter campaign to fund one refrigerator that historians use for preserving negatives. “Freezing the negatives will put them in a chemically inert state, and limit off-gassing. It is more cost-effective than scanning every negative and digitally storing them; this has the added benefit of preserving the historic artifact. This is the method currently in used by major historical museums with photographic collections.” Their Kickstarter campaign is here, which became fully funded and surpassed their initial goal! It truly is an incredible collection!

The PMH mission statement:
The Mission of the Museum is to promote an appreciation of history, culture, arts, and sciences relevant to Pasadena and adjoining communities

It’s a fun place for a selfie too!

It’s a fun place for a selfie too!

In addition to the many exhibits and art showcases, they have such beautiful grounds that people enjoy walking around in the evening time you can spot people with or without their dogs in tow! They have been a location for everything like movies by D.W. Griffith, to Disney and music videos by Beyonce (“Formation”). Most recently, Serena Carpenter’s "Almost Love” has been added. Additionally, PMH was also the site of two History Lit theatrical productions by Unbound Productions. The location is also a popular wedding and wedding photography location.

What do I like about them?
One of the things that attracted me to the museum the most, is that they make art and history so accessible. Everything was brought to life, once I walked through their exhibits to grasp the concepts of the their curated art. In fact beginning September 29th they have an exhibit opening, “Something Revealed; California Women Artists Emerge, 1860-1960” that is a fine art exhibition of over 250 works offering a new appreciation of the artists who defied gender and expectation in an era of inequality” (Press Release, visit this link for more info!).
Do check it out, friends!
Another aspect of the organization that is so attractive to me, is that the people involved are such gems, and warm-hearted people who sincerely care about the mission of the organization. They are very interested in the intersection of history, culture, and arts in the Pasadena area. The Pasadena community is well served by this organization!

What is their number one financial challenge?
When asked about their number one financial challenge, the answer is a resounding: sustainability. This is a consistent story I hear from most nonprofits. Being able to build a budget around the timing of when donations comes through can be challenging. Anticipating or predicting what the income can be and how the expenses will plan out is hard! The primary challenge is making sure the financial future is being considered.

How do I get involved?
The Pasadena Museum of History loves their volunteers! Volunteer opportunities range from gallery hosts, helping in the museum store, assisting at special events, and decorating the mansion for the holidays! The volunteer jobs that require training and stamina (and an ease with public speaking) are the docents who give the mansion tours. The education volunteers help train junior docents to work with the 4th graders that come through the art-focused “My Masterpieces” program. If you are interested you can also train to be a docent that provides tours for people through the historic Fenyes Mansion. PMH provides free training, and host several training sessions each year. In the short film that we created (mentioned earlier) we do shoot a couple of scenes from that mansion, and it is simply gorgeous to walk through. I would highly recommend getting yourself a tour of this Mansion at some point!

Where are they located?
Pasadena Museum of History is located near the Rose Bowl at 470 West Walnut Street Pasadena, CA 91103. You can find their website here: Follow them on Facebook or Twitter! Here’s how to get in contact with them based on their website!
626.577.1660 telephone

Exhibition Galleries
$9 per person, Members and children under 12 free

Fenyes Mansion Tours
$17 per person, Members Free

Special thanks to Jeannette Bovard for providing additional information used in this post!

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