Archives and Collections
The exhibitions of the Catalina Island Museum draw on the collections and archival holdings of the Catalina Island Museum Society. The archaeological site material in the society’s collections dates from approximately seven thousand years ago to the early 1800s. This material includes artifacts from the indigenous people known as the Gabrieliño who were living on Catalina Island when the Spanish arrived in 1542. Also in the collections are approximately two thousand items dating from the 1880s to the present which pertain to Catalina Island’s maritime history and local industries and to sport fishing, recreation, and tourism. Items include boat models, boat motors, fish mounts, fishing rods and reels, early paddleboards, swimsuits, postcards, and Catalina pottery and tiles. A small number of paintings and prints of historical interest are in the collections as well. The society’s archives contain more than one hundred audiotaped oral history interviews with local residents, including many with members of the island’s Mexican American population, as well as several maps, various city and school records, a substantial ephemera collection documenting social and political activities on Catalina Island, and a very large number of photographs. Most of these holdings date to between the 1880s and the present.