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(310) 395-2290

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Wed. and Fri. 10am – 5pm
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25th Anniversary Gala

Bring History Alive!


The Santa Monica History Museum is co-sponsoring a Living History event with Woodlawn Cemetery this Memorial Day. At this event, volunteers will dress in period clothing and become noted personalities in Santa Monica history, bringing alive the times of certain notable people buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.

We will be needing 6-8 volunteers willing to become the personalities. The event is expected to take less than 5 hours, allowing for two guided tours to be led through the Cemetery.

If you have a passion for history, consider volunteering for this event! Drop us an email at


Writeup on Tarzan program

Did you miss our Tarzan program? ERBzine has a great write-up of it.  Check it out by clicking here!


Thank you to everyone who attended and the volunteers who helped out that day. Extra special thanks to Scott Tracy Griffin for his informative presentation.

Popeye the Sailor Man 80th Anniversary

Popeye the Sailor Man’s 80th anniversary is this upcoming  Friday, January 17th. This day goes out to the memory of one of  the most beloved and well known characters that has defined American culture, and continues to do so. Popeye, along with Mickey Mouse, still remains to be the most recognizable cartoon character out there, and we at the Santa Monica History Museum would like to give a special shout out to the series that started right here within Santa Monica itself.

E.C. Segar, the man behind the series, created the infamous character in his studio in Santa Monica. The spinach eating character was later introduced to the public in January of 1929, and some say that Popeye was influenced by one of the city’s sailors who operated the fishing barges from the Santa Monica bay. His name was Captain Olaf Olsen, a Norwegian sailor who settled Santa Monica in 1925 and became a member of the city’s fishing industry. Popeye was then published to a comic series called the Thimble Theater, quickly becoming so popular, that his character became one of the most recognizable heroes in comics, capturing the hearts of a million fans worldwide.

 Come check out our Popeye exhibit in our permanent galleries!


2013 Emmy Nominated PSA “Day At The Museum”

SMHM PSA Day at the Museum

History will be served

 History will be served: Santa Monica History Museum celebrates silver anniversary with gala honoring founders

Posted September 4, 2013 by The Argonaut in News By Michael Aushenker












It’s only fitting that the Santa Monica History Museum will hold its silver anniversary gala fundraiser, celebrating 25 years, at Casa del Mar on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The venerable Santa Monica hotel has a lengthy history that goes back to the building’s original incarnation, Club Casa del Mar, a beach club that opened in 1926. Casa del Mar became a hotel and recreation service for the military during World War II, and post-war, the Italian Renaissance Revival-style building went through a succession of usages, including the headquarters of Synanon and Pritikin Longevity Center.

Local history, after all, is what Santa Monica History Museum has been all about in its past quarter-century.

On Sept. 15, the gala dinner event will honor museum founders Louise and Bob Gabriel, museum architect Kris Andresen, and longtime supporter Mary Ann Powell, CEO of Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier. The casino-themed gala will echo the Rex gambling ship anchored offshore in Santa Monica Bay back in 1939 , with music of the epoch by singer Savi Labensart.

“The first day I saw Santa Monica, I knew I wanted to spend my life here,” Louise Gabriel told The Argonaut.

“We started with nothing,” Gabriel said. “In three years, my husband and I were drafted to start the museum.”
Santa Monica, after all, is where destiny played its hand in 1946, when Gabriel was visiting California with her mother from their native Detroit.

“This was like heaven,” she recalled. “This was like God’s country.”

Sweetening the deal is the fact that she met Bob Gabriel, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who had fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, right on Broadway and Third Street in the middle of downtown Santa Monica.

Gabriel said she is proud of “what we have accomplished (at the museum). Now we have tens of thousands of original documents and memorabilia.”

Among them were documents and ephemera scored when Santa Monica Bank went out of business and a treasure trove from the Santa Monica Outlook, the newspaper of record since 1875 that printed its final edition in 1998.

“We acquired over 600,000 photographs, most of them are originals, plus negatives,” Gabriel said.

That also includes the personal collection of founding Santa Monican Sen. John B. Jones that descendent Arcadia Bandini had attained. Outlook photographer Bob Smith is another local from whom the museum gleaned mementos, including 25 years worth of his local photography.

“The museum exists today because of Louise’s leadership, determination and especially her enduring love of Santa Monica and guiding passion for preserving its rich, vibrant history to share with everyone,” said Andrea Engstrom, who has worked with Gabriel at the museum since 1998.

“Louise has made a great lasting contribution to the city of Santa Monica by founding the museum and working tirelessly to secure an elegant and permanent home for its history,” Engstrom said.

Originally an appendage of the local historical society with the unwieldy title of Santa Monica Historical Society Museum back in 1975, the Santa Monica History Museum spent 13 years of collecting artifacts before opening its doors in 1988, inside an industrial building on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica which Sony occupies today.

“They gave us free rent,” Gabriel recalled after a $30,000 investment had established the museum.

Since October 2010, the museum has been located on Seventh Street, housed within the same building as Santa Monica Main Library. Before that, Santa Monica History Museum floated around several locations, including a temporary location on Euclid Street.

“Every day, it’s a great pleasure to be part of the stimulating atmosphere at the museum where visitors, volunteer and staff all thoroughly enjoy the many different ways we become immersed in the fascinating history of Santa Monica,” Engstrom said. “We really like to talk history with everyone.”

Local television personality Stephanie Edwards served as honorary chair of the museum’s silver anniversary and annual gala tribute dinner. Edwards, who began her career as an actress, is best known as longtime co-host of the Annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena with Bob Eubanks.

“I was at the original gathering when the museum opened 25 years ago and it seems like yesterday,” she told The Argonaut.

The correspondent, a longtime Santa Monican who today lives in the San Fernando Valley, still has a crush on the Bay City.

“My husband and I lived there for 17 years some while back now,” she said.

“The museum is a lovely one,” Edwards continued. “It continues to grow because of the efforts of people who know how loved it is.”

Engstrom, who works as the museum’s image archive manager and development director (financial management), offered her professional highlight: “The implementation of our online photograph archive with over 3,000 historic images of Santa Monica that the public can access from their home.”

In fact, aside from some shared imagery from the very beginnings of Santa Monica’s history in 1769 (and since its incorporation in 1886), the museum’s online imagery varies (and complements) the images offered by Santa Monica Historical Society and Santa Monica Library. The Bill Beebe collection, comprised of the work of another Outlook photographer, informs a great deal of Santa Monica History Museum’s online inventory, Engstrom added.

Gabriel said she is proud of what Santa Monica History Museum has accomplished in its first official quarter-century for the Bay City, home to some 90,000 citizens today.
“It shows the accomplishments of the city as it developed,” Gabriel said of her museum. “And it brings the community together.

As for Edwards, she can not attend the gala because of a family and class reunion in her native Minnesota. However, she says her heart will be in Santa Monica on that night.
“I love the town,” Edwards said. “I wish I was still living there, frankly.”

The Santa Monica History Museum is located at 1350 Seventh St. Hotel Casa del Mar is located at 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica.

Tickets for the silver anniversary gala are $150 per person. For information and tickets, Danielle Lewis at (310) 395-2290, or;









Museum awarded $4,000 Grant from ECF of Boeing CA












The Santa Monica History Museum has been awarded a $4,000 grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing CA for its Magic of History: Youth Programs. Robert Acherman, a Systems Analyst for Boeing, and contributor to the employee-owned and operated nonprofit organization, recommended the Museum for the grant and made the presentation to Museum Chair, Eddie Guerboian, on August 3, 2013. Robert’s father, Anton, who worked on the Skylab project for McDonnell Douglas (later acquired by Boeing) was also present. The Museum’s youth programming includes free, docent-led tours for school classes and youth groups, student volunteer opportunities, internships, educational programs, research projects and children’s history workshop. A special feature of the Museum’s permanent gallery is the Douglas Aircraft Company Interactive Exhibit, a replicated portion of a C-47, the World War II airplane assembled by “Rosie-the-Riveters” in Santa Monica and other locations.

Gala Invite & RSVP card

2013 Gala Invite_Page_1
2013 Gala Invite_Page_2

2013 Gala Reply Card

Gala Tribute Dinner: Save The Date


Museum awarded grant from ECF of Boeing CA

Photo for the ECF grant news story (SM Mirror): In the photo are, left top right – Anton Acherman, retired Douglas/Boeing employee, Eddie Guerboian, Museum Board Chair, Robert Acherman, Boeing employee.

Photo for the ECF grant news story (SM Mirror): In the photo are, left top right – Anton Acherman, retired Douglas/Boeing employee, Eddie Guerboian, Museum Board Chair, Robert Acherman, Boeing employee.


Santa Monica History Museum Receives $5K Grant From Boeing Nonprofit

POSTED NOV. 13. 2012, 8:45AM


The Santa Monica History Museum has received a $5,000 grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing CA, an employee-owned and operated nonprofit organization that requires an employee recommendation for its community grants program.

Robert Acherman, a contributor to the fund, and a Systems Analyst for Boeing, said he saw a perfect fit for the Museum. The extraordinary legacy of the Douglas Aircraft Company, one of Boeing’s heritage companies, is showcased at the Museum in a fascinating interactive exhibit in the permanent gallery and complemented with the research library’s outstanding Douglas collection of artifacts, documents and photographs.

Acherman’s interest in the Douglas Aircraft Company’s legacy in Santa Monica is a personal one. His father, Anton Acherman, was living in Santa Monica when he was hired by McDonnell Douglas for the Skylab project and had the pleasure of working with Donald Douglas Jr. Now living in Torrance, Robert maintains strong ties locally, having served as President of the Santa Monica Jaycees in 2007.

Robert presented the ECF grant award of $5,000 in person to the Museum’s Board of Directors, with Chair Eddie Guerboian and President Louise Gabriel very pleased to accept the generous donation. Board members and Operations Manager, Mary Pat Cooney, enjoyed hearing about the Skylab and missile projects from Anton who attended the presentation along with Robert’s wife, Chris. Afterwards, the Acherman family toured the Museum’s galleries and research library.

Museum awarded grant from Southern California Edison

Museum awarded grant from Southern California Edison

Photo for the Edison grant news story (SM Daily Press): In the photo are, left to right – Susan Gabriel Potter, Museum Board Member, Mark Olson, Regional Manager of Local Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, Eddie Guerboian, Museum Board Chair, John Bohn, Museum Board Treasurer, Kris Andresen, Museum Architect and Board Member.


History Museum gets $10K grant

January 7, 2013 6:56 PM

Author: Kevin Herrera

In recognition of its youth programs, the Santa Monica History Museum recently received a $10,000 competitive grant from the Edison Company.
“The Magic of History” youth program at the museum seeks to engage and involve young people in the history of their community, educating them with stories and events from the past that also have relevance to the world today, museum officials said in a news release. The museum reaches out to a broad spectrum of young people through elementary and high school classes, Santa Monica College, youth groups and families.
The museum also collaborates with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, museum officials said.
The grant was recommended by Mark Olson, regional manager of Southern California Edison and member of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s environmental affairs committee.