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

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Past Exhibits

Santa Monica Pleasure Pier: A Look Back to 1917 from Today

A visual exploration by Michael Murphy and Jens Lucking, provides a unique opportunity to view the original photographs, plans, and drawings that Charles Looff created to solicit investment and other support for his popular new pier. 

California’s Route 66: Hiding in Plain Sight

Route 66 has a special resonance in Santa Monica history, as the road ends at the intersection of Lincoln and Olympic Boulevards. The exhibition will explore the legacy of “the end of the trail” in Santa Monica, as well as the role that famous local figures like Will Rogers played in promoting Route 66.

Light & Shadow: Capturing Early Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Public Library and the Santa Monica History Museum partnered to give viewers a peek into the extensive photographic archives of each institution. Each of our photographic archives houses a diverse selection of photographers and subjects that capture the rich history of the Santa Monica Bay area.

From Biplanes to Bombers: Santa Monica Airport’s First Fifty Years, 1917-1967

Once known as Clover Field, Santa Monica Airport’s usage as a landing strip dates to at least 1917. Airplane mania hit Santa Monica in the 1910s, with spirited young locals building homemade flying machines in their garages.

Santa Monica: A Look Back to 1902 from Today

What did Santa Monica look like in 1902? As a child, local resident Michael Murphy found the answer in a Santa Monica Fire Department photography book of local buildings.

People of the Earth: Life and Culture of the Tongva

An exhibit exploring the history and cultural influence of the Tongva/Gabrielino people, the original residents of the Santa Monica Bay area.

Saint John’s Health Center: 75 years of Healing, Discovery and Service to the Community

A display of unique artifacts and photographs from the Center’s archive, which has been carefully tended by the Sisters of Charity since the 1940s.

70 Years on the Air: KCRW is New as Ever

This exhibit details the history of KCRW from its days as The College Radio Workshop to NPR affiliate to international presence through online broadcasting. Other programs include actor James Dean’s afternoon radio show in the 1940s and the beloved program, “To the Point.

The Journey of Girl Scouts: Empowering Young Women

Celebrating a special 105 year anniversary, this exhibition includes documents, photographs, uniforms, memorabilia, a replica campsite, and other artifacts that bring the history of the Girl Scouts of the USA to life.

Shirley Temple: The Depression’s Box Office Doll

An extensive Shirley Temple exhibition featuring a stunning collection of Ideal dolls released during Temple’s childhood career.  Also featured are original movie costumes and posters, personal clothing, photos, correspondence, memorabilia, and much more.

The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea

A fixture of the Santa Monica and Los Angeles landscape for nearly 130 years the Old Soldiers’ Home, as it was once known, has been and still is the site of many iconic buildings. This exhibition 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.

Shirley Temple: Santa Monica’s Biggest Little Star

Celebrating this Santa Monica native who was a singer, dancer, and actress, this exhibit features her original movie costumes and posters, dolls, personal clothing, photos, correspondence, memorabilia, and much more!

Aero Theater’s 75th Anniversary

In 2015, the Aero Theatre celebrated its 75th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Cinematheque’s stewardship. The Aero is one of the few remaining single-screen neighborhood theatres in the Los Angeles area. The exhibition features early photographs of the Aero including photos of it 75th anniversary celebration and rare movie posters.

Love, Shirley Temple

The Santa Monica History Museum was one of only five museums in the world chosen by Shirley Temple’s children to display their mother’s personal childhood collection prior to being sold at auction. Several of her costumes on display include the  iconic red polka dot dress from “Stand Up And Cheer” and  the Good Ship Lollipop dress worn in “Bright Eyes”. 

Cultural Mecca

In the summer of 1958, Santa Monica inaugurated a 3,000 seat cultural mecca, just two blocks from the ocean. The exhibit highlights the performances hosted by the Civic Auditorium, including the TAMI Show in 1964, the Academy Awards in the 1960s, and the pop and rock bands from the 1970s into the 2000s.

Warriors of Flames

Celebrating Santa Monica Fire Department’s 125th anniversary, this exhibit, with over 50 historic photographs and artifacts, charts the evolution of the Santa Monica Fire Department from a small grass-roots organization to one of the premiere, most progressive fire departments in the United States.

Life At The Miramar

The Miramar served as a center of activities and social gatherings of the Jones and notable guests, pageants and outdoors theatricals. The images and documents in this exhibition are from the start point of open space (circa 1874) deed of land purchase by Senator Jones from Col. Baker.

Marion Davies Estate

The exhibit features historic photographs of Marion Davies and her estate’s five elaborately decorated buildings, landscape and swimming pool from the Bison Archives.