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Archives and Collections
The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage was opened in 2001 and is named after its lead donors, Ruth and Charles Gilb. The Museum is maintained and operated by the City of Arcadia and houses artifacts and artwork representative of local Arcadia history and culture. The Museum presents seven individual interpretive exhibit spaces with both permanent and temporary exhibits as well as three off-site exhibits at City Hall, City Council Chambers and the Community Center. The main, permanent, gallery presents a chronology of Arcadia's history beginning with the Gabrieliño/Tongva (Native Americans indigenous to Arcadia) and works its way through the early American period with the rancho of Santa Anita, the story of Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin and the beginning of the City of Arcadia. Also on display are artifacts and exhibits of Santa Anita Park, the Arcadia World War I Balloon School, the Santa Anita Japanese Assembly Center and Anita M. Baldwin. Two other permanent spaces are “Movie Magic: Arcadia in the Movies” and “Famous Arcadians.” Our Research Library houses temporary local history exhibits and displays of our archival collections. Research in our collections is by appointment only. In the Arcadia Veterans Local History Room the Museum presents a remembrance of Arcadians who have served in the military. This space houses the Arcadia Veterans Registry, where Veterans from all theatres are invited to add their personal information and photograph to the registry. In addition, the Museum houses the City’s Blue Star Registry and honors Operation Hometown Heroes. Our main temporary space rotates exhibits that share the many aspects of Arcadia's art and history. Past exhibits have included: “Tongva: Our Voice, Our History, Our People,” “Dreams and Delusions: The Surreal World of Dean Fleming,” “Only What We Could Carry: The Santa Anita Japanese Assembly Center,” “Traditional Silk and Silver Fashions of China's Minorities,” “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” and “Airships over Arcadia, WWI.” Temporary exhibits also include topics on community themes and an annual juried photography contest and exhibit. The Museum hosts educational family and adult programming in our Museum Education Center. On third Thursdays the Museum presents Lunchtime Talks with different speakers and topics each month from January through June and September through November. On selected months we present our Hands on Saturdays for Families program, which celebrates a variety of cultural themes bringing families together while educating and immersing in world cultures. Scout Days are presented throughout the year for local troops to come and earn their badges. We also offer educational school tours of the exhibits with an additional hands-on component. Lectures on local history are offered from an assortment of speakers and topics. Favorite lectures in the past have been on the Arcadia WWI Balloon School; Mount Lowe and Pancho Barnes’ connection to Arcadia; the life of Anita Baldwin; and the railroad system in Arcadia. Adult workshops have included working with genealogy, and the ongoing Preservation Series: The Personal Museum, when the Curator shares tips and knowledge about how to care for treasures in “personal museums” in each family home. There is also opportunity to share and record individual stories utilizing the Museum's oral history program: Write Your Own Reminiscence and a senior Those Were the Days Sing-a-Long. The Curator sets time aside each month for visitors to Ask the Curator about how to care for their family artifacts. Cultural programming is also a focal point in our programming. We have held demonstrations on skills such as flintknapping and have welcomed local Native Americans who share their culture of storytelling, native plants and basketweaving. The Museum opens in the evening, after hours, during the spring and summer for two special programs. Arcadia at the Movies delights guests as we watch and discuss movies that have been filmed in Arcadia. Our Spring Soirée offers an evening to relax under the stars with a significant local artist’s work, a wine and cheese reception and acoustic music. There is something for everyone at the Gilb Museum!