Museum Phone:
(310) 395-2290

Museum Address:
1350 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Museum Hours:
Tuesday & Thursday: 12pm – 8pm
Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday & Monday: CLOSED

School Tours
Group Tours

Shirley Temple’s 90th Birthday Tea Party

Don’t miss this very special event and one-day-only exhibit of these historic cinematic treasures!

Join us
on Saturday, April 21st, 2018
from 12:00 to 2:30 PM
for a tea party celebrating the 90th anniversary of Shirley Temple’s birth,
featuring an exclusive one-day-only exhibit
of her newly reunited Little Princess costume-ensemble, plus a selection of iconic dresses and never-before-displayed items. A delicious traditional tea service will be served, including tea sandwiches, desserts, and a variety of teas and coffee.

Tickets: $35.00

Click here to visit our event page for more info and to purchase tickets!

All proceeds from this event and exhibit benefit the educational and preservation mission of the Santa Monica History Museum, a 501 c(3) nonprofit.

Still from ‘THE LITTLE PRINCESS’ Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.

Now Open! New Exhibit on the Tongva People

Our newest exhibit, People of the Earth: Life and Culture of the Tongva, will open on February 9th.

The exhibit will explore the history and cultural influence of the Tongva people, the original residents of the Santa Monica Bay area, who have lived in the area for 7,000 years. The exhibit will display artifacts from everyday life ranging from musical instruments to fishing nets woven from milkweed fiber.

Topics will include community and social structure, use of plants, building methods, and profiles of significant figures. The exhibit will also cover the presence of indigenous people today, and ongoing efforts to bring awareness to the local native population.

Join us this February in welcoming the first new exhibit of 2018!

2017 Annual Gala Tribute Dinner

“Every Little Breeze Seems to Whisper Louise”

Santa Monica History Annual Gala Tribute Dinner



Free Evenings at the Museum

Join us after work or just before dinner for a free evening at the museum!

KCRW Exhibit Preview and Reception May 23rd

We hope you’ll join us for this very special evening!

May 23rd, 2017 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm, the Santa Monica History Museum will be celebrating the opening of our newest exhibit:

70 Years on the Air: KCRW is New as Ever

The evening is sure to be exciting!  Guests are invited to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, tour our newest exhibit before its public opening, and hear from our special guest speaker, KCRW producer and host, Matt Holzman.

Click here to visit our event page for more info, sponsorship opportunities, and to purchase tickets!

All proceeds from this event an exhibit benefit the educational and preservation mission of the Santa Monica History Museum, a 501 c(3) nonprofit.

New Exhibit! Shirley Temple: The Depression’s Box Office Doll


The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to announce it will display an extensive Shirley Temple exhibition from Thursday, April 6th, until Saturday, May 13th, at the Santa Monica History Museum.

Shirley Temple: The Depression’s Box Office Doll, the Museum’s third exhibit to honor the Santa Monica native,  will be the first to bring together a stunning collection of Ideal dolls released during Temple’s childhood career. Dolls on display include those owned by Shirley as well as those sold in her image during the 1930s, when earnings from licensed merchandise matched that of her income as an actress. The exhibit will also feature original movie costumes and posters, personal clothing, photos, correspondence, memorabilia, and much more! Among the treasures on display will be iconic costumes, including her red polka-dot dress from the 1934 film “Stand Up and Cheer!” and the plaid dress Temple wore while performing “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Artifacts on display also include Shirley’s personal correspondence with President and First Lady Roosevelt, photos of her as a child, and original birth certificate from Santa Monica Hospital.

Shirley Temple was born in Santa Monica on April 23, 1928. Her abundant talents as a singer, dancer, and actress made her a quick success in Hollywood. Once named “Little Miss Miracle” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for her ability to bring joy to the lives of millions, her films have been said to uplift the spirits of a nation in the midst of the Great Depression. Shirley Temple: The Depression’s Box Office Doll will be an exquisite tribute to her career and legacy during the 1930s.

Museum Mourns Passing of Founder

Santa Monica History Museum Mourns Passing of Founder, President, and CEO Louise Gabriel – Honors Her Legacy by Keeping History Alive

The Santa Monica History Museum is saddened by the passing of its Founder, President, and CEO Louise Gabriel. Gabriel was a member of the Historical Activities Committee of the Santa Monica Centennial Celebration in 1975 which led to the establishment of the Santa Monica Historical Society. Gabriel was one of the founders and incorporators of the Santa Monica Historical Society. As the collections of the Historical Society grew Louise Gabriel, along with her late husband Bob Gabriel, endeavored to establish the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum to give the Historical Society a home to share the City’s history with the public. Established in 1988, the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum is now known as the Santa Monica History Museum and flourishes in a state-of-the-art location on the main campus of the Santa Monica Public Library.

Louise Gabriel is the reason the Santa Monica History Museum exists today. It was her hard work and determination that lead to the donation of the first display cases and furniture needed to open the museum. As the museum grew, it was at her direction. Her vision and leadership allowed the museum to thrive and to become an important part of the community. “I will dearly miss Louise Gabriel, her passion for the city of Santa Monica and ‘Keeping History Alive’, her friendship, and leadership skills. I was honored to serve as Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors and as a current Board Member will continue to support her legacy,” said Edward Guerboian, Santa Monica History Museum Board Member.

“My mother died peacefully surround by her beloved family,” said Susan Gabriel Potter, Louise Gabriel’s daughter and Santa Monica History Museum Board Member. “My mom was an extraordinary woman who lived her life to the fullest with great passion, humor, and love. She loved the community she lived in and gave back in the most generous ways.
She is an inspiration to so many and has left a tremendous legacy. The founding of the Santa Monica History Museum was to her one of her greatest accomplishments and what she was most proud of. The Santa Monica community having their own museum to preserve our own history for generations to come. There will never be another ‘Louise Gabriel’. I was so blessed to have called her my mother,” continued Gabriel Potter.

Louise Gabriel is survived by her children, Susan Gabriel Potter, Robb Gabriel, and Sharyl Gabriel Szydlik; grandchildren Patrick Potter, Bryan Potter, and Michael Szydlik; two sisters Josephine Van Buren and Elaine Bruner; sons-in-law Pat Potter and Joseph Szydlik; and many nieces and nephews. Her family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Louise Gabriel’s honor to the Santa Monica History Museum, 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

In accordance with the Santa Monica History Museum’s succession plan, Susan Gabriel Potter has been elected by the Board of Directors as the Museum’s Interim President. Gabriel Potter will assume the duties of her late mother and lead the Museum through this time of transition. “My mother will always be my guiding light,” said Susan Gabriel Potter “and I am proud to keep her legacy and this museum moving forward to preserve and promote our community’s history.”

Before her passing Louise Gabriel, as President and CEO, had overseen the development of exciting plans for the Santa Monica History Museum in 2017. These plans include the continuation of the Museum’s popular free Discover the History lecture series and monthly free Hands on History children’s workshops. The Museum also has plans for four special exhibitions in addition to its permanent exhibit about the history of Santa Monica. These special exhibits will highlight the history of Girl Scouts, Shirley Temple, the KCRW radio station, and the Tongva Gabrielino Native Americans. “I know nothing would have made my mother prouder than working to keep our history alive,” added Gabriel Potter, “and I feel honored and privileged to be carrying on her life’s work by leading the Santa Monica History Museum.” For more information about these and other Museum events, activities, and exhibits please call (310) 395-2290 or visit

Hands on History – 1/14


The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to invite children and their families to our FREE Hands on History workshop on Saturday, January 14th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. The theme of January’s workshop will be Chinese New Year. There will be a short, age-appropriate lesson in the galleries followed by a related craft activity.


The roots of Chinese American heritage run deep in Southern California. The first US census after California’s statehood, taken in 1850, shows two Chinese residents living in Los Angeles. This Hands on History workshop will explore the history of the Chinese American community in Santa Monica and Southern California, including the celebration of Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year, or the lunar New Year, begins on January 28, 2017. 2017 will be a year of the rooster. After a lesson in the galleries, participants will move to the museum lobby where they will create a fun, festive rooster craft to take home.


Children and their parents are invited to our free Hands on History workshop series held monthly from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Each session includes a history lesson and a correlated craft or activity. Each workshop is designed to be engaging and educational for elementary age (5 – 11 years) children. Topics for the workshops rotate throughout the year to feature relevant, seasonal lessons and activities. RSVP is requested, registration is available at the door. Every workshop is offered free of charge.


Requests for additional information can be directed to Kathryn Evans, Development & Museum Manager at or (310) 395-2290.

Free Admission Day – 1/12/17

The Santa Monica History Museum will offer free admission on Thursday, January 12, 2017 from noon to 8pm at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. All are invited to visit on this day to take advantage of free admission to the museum’s six galleries.


In addition to the permanent exhibition detailing the founding and growth of the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica History Museum is currently offering a special exhibit on the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home – now known as the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center. The exhibit, The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea, details the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home, the ways in which it has changed over the years, and the veterans and nearby residents who helped build this community. Photographs, documents, military uniforms, and other historical artifacts will bring the history of the Veterans Affairs facility to life. Objects for this exhibit come from the museum’s collections as well as from the private collection of the Bandini family. The Old Soldiers’ Home exhibit will only be on display through Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – don’t miss this chance to see it before it is gone!


Free admission includes both the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits. With free admission, all are welcome to visit, bring family and friends, and enjoy a day of appreciating our local history and culture.


For more information please contact Kathryn Evans at 310.395.2290 or

Museum Holiday Schedule


We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Please note our special schedule of museum closures for the holidays.