Community Service Organizations

Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center explores the linkage between American Jewish life and American democratic values through cultural programs and museum exhibitions for all ages and backgrounds. Designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the Skirball comprises a museum, a discovery center, an educational resource center, classrooms and various meeting and social facilities. On permanent exhibition at the museum is “Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America,” which chronicles 4,000 years of the Jewish experience in the Old and New worlds. The visitor is guided from antiquity to arrival in the United States and integration into American life. Large-scale reproductions of an archaeological site at an ancient synagogue in Israel and the Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch are on display, along with historical and political objects and documents about Jews in American dating from colonial times to the present. The Skirball’s permanent collections, which hold more than 25,000 artifacts, include one of the five largest collections of Judaica in the world and the Project Americana Collection. The latter contains family and institutional memorabilia, and family photographs reflecting the experience of the Jewish community in the United States. Some of the material in the Project Americana Collection documents Jewish migration to Los Angeles from other parts of the country and abroad. The Skirball’s outstanding archaeological collection is housed in the Teri Bell Ziffren Discovery Center, which offers an insider’s tour of the archaeology world to explorers ages 5 and up - a tour that includes the opportunity to excavate the simulated remains of an ancient Israelite at the Outdoor Archaeology Dig.

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum holds a wide variety of materials documenting the Japanese American experience from a Japanese American perspective. Built around broad historical eras and themes of Japanese American experience, the holdings are used to fulfill the museum’s mission "to promote understanding and appreciation of America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience." The National Museum's general collection includes bibliographic materials, three-dimensional objects, fine art, photographs, oral history recordings, and moving images. The museum also maintains a public research library and archival collections.

University of California, Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collection

UCSB professor David Gebhard (1927-1996) founded the Architecture and Design Collection in 1963. Today it is one of the largest architectural archives in North America with more than 1,000,000 drawings, as well as papers, photographs, scrapbooks, models, decorative objects, and furniture. The focus of the collection is the design and architecture of southern California from the late 19th through the early 21st century. More than 230 collections and archives make up the ADC, a portrait of design in the region through the work of well-known figures such as Irving Gill, John Byers, Roland Coate, Sr., George Washington Smith, Myron Hunt and Harold Chambers, Robert Stacy-Judd, R. M. Schindler, Lutah Maria Riggs, Thornton Abell, Gregory Ain, Julius R. Davidson, Palmer Sabin, Kem Weber, Whitney Smith and Wayne Williams, John Woolf, Edward Killingsworth, Rex Lotery, Maynard Lyndon, and Barton Myers, among others.

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives

Founded in 1952, the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles is the oldest continuously-operating GLBT organization in the United States and the largest archive in the world dedicated to collecting and preserving GLBT humanities materials. Our collection comprises over 30,000 volumes of books and monographs; over 7,000 titles of GLBT periodicals; 5,000 linear feet of manuscript and photograph collections; 15,000 items of audiovisual and moving image materials; and over 100,000 items of other materials, including posters, banners, textiles and ephemera. In total, ONE’s collection contains over two million items. Collected for over 60 years by ONE and historian Jim Kepner, ONE’s materials span over a century and are international in scope. In 2010, the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives became a part of the University of Southern California Libraries, which provides operational support to ONE for preserving and improving access to its collections. The USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge with collections and services that encourage the academic endeavors of faculty, students, and staff. Library collections include more than 4 million volumes, 5.8 million microforms, 3.1 million visual materials, 98,700 serial titles, and 48,500 linear feet of manuscripts and archives.

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum collects, preserves, interprets, and displays materials that honor the contributions of African Americans to world history and culture. The museum’s art collection focuses on works created by African American artists from the 1800s to the present. It also includes traditional African art and contemporary art by those of the African Diaspora. The museum’s historical collection consists of documents, photographs, artifacts, and other material culture of African Americans, with an emphasis on documenting the experiences of African Americans in California and the American West from the late 1900s to the present. In the museum’s archival collection are books, periodicals, research materials, audio recordings, videos, vintage films, and other artifacts relating to African Americans. Materials specific to Los Angeles are found in the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, which contains images depicting African American subjects in Los Angeles from the 1880s to the 1970s collected by California’s first African American librarian; the Vassie D. Wright Collection, which consists of African American literary and historical works donated by the founder and the members of the local Our Authors Study Club; the Walter Burrell Collection, which comprises audio recordings of Burrell’s interviews with African American celebrities, which were broadcast by a local radio station in the early 1970s; and the oral histories collected from Celes King, a member of the family that owned the Dunbar Hotel, local civil rights activist, and former Tuskegee airman, and from John Outterbridge, a visual artist who has been based in Los Angeles since the 1960s and is renowned for his assemblages and for his mentoring of younger artists.

The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage

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!

Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park

The Museum exhibits American Indian cultural materials, primarily focused on cultures of the Southwestern, Great Basin and Californian culture regions, which were connected by a major trade route from circa 4,000 BP. One of the largest collections is from the California coast and Channel Islands. Seven thousand artifacts are represented, ranging in age from 8-9,000 BP to ethnographic/historic times.

California State University, Northridge, Delmar T. Oviatt Library, Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives in the Oviatt Library is the home of CSUN's rare book and periodical collections, as well as its archival and manuscript collections. Archival and manuscript collections can consist of many different kinds of materials, including correspondence, diaries, maps, university records, organizational records, photographs, and audio or video recordings. The department is comprised of several areas within the Oviatt Library which were independently established between 1973 and 1996. Special Collections was established in 1973 to house the Library’s manuscripts, rare books, periodicals, maps, prints, and art. Special Collections holds over 35,000 cataloged items and 150 manuscript and archival collections which support the University's curriculum, as well as the research interests of faculty and students on campus. In addition to supporting curricular needs at California State University, Northridge, collecting is focused on several topical areas including American literature, California and the West, children's literature, the history of printing and publishing, human sexuality, music, 19th and 20th century Europe, radio and television scripts, religion, theater and motion pictures, and United States history. The Urban Archives was established in 1979 through the efforts of university faculty, concerned community organizations, and civic leaders. Its purpose is to collect historically significant records of voluntary associations, local political figures, prominent citizens, and civic leaders which have contributed to the growth of Los Angeles County, and influenced government and public thinking since the beginning of the late nineteenth century. The collections document urban development in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, education, journalism in Southern California, labor and guild history, minority and ethnic studies, politicians and political movements, social service and women in Los Angeles. The University Archives is the repository for the historical papers of California State University, Northridge's administration, Faculty Senate, schools and departments, and student activities on campus. The International Guitar Research Archives (IGRA) was founded in 1980, and now holds one of the world’s largest collections of guitar sheet music, especially works for solo guitar, ensemble pieces for multiple guitars, and ensemble pieces for guitar and other instruments. IGRA also holds accompanying resources documenting the lives and careers of numerous guitarists and professional associations, as well as other guitar-related materials. The Old China Hands Archives was established in 1996 to preserve and publicize the heritage of the many people from other countries and cultures who have resided and worked in China. The Archives holds a growing collection of materials generously donated by former Old China Hands, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, postcards, books, periodicals, newspapers, and other materials.

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The Library has a large collection of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals, photographs, maps and ephemera relating to Los Angeles. Topical areas of particular importance, with examples of archival collections, are: (1) politics, government, and legal history of Los Angeles (papers of Fletcher Bowron, John Anson Ford, Kenneth Hahn, Edmund Edelman, John Dustin Bicknell, Henry William O'Melveny; Marie Koenig collection documenting political conservatism; Los Angeles Area Court Records, 1850-1894); (2) economic development and business (papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, Abel Stearns, Benjamin Davis Wilson, James De Barth Shorb; records of the Banning Company, Newhall Ranch and Land Company); (3) ethnic groups (papers of You Chung Hong, Harold Bruce Forsythe, Loren Miller, Joseph Rickard/First Negro Classic Ballet); (4) architecture and urban planning (photographic and other architectural collections of Maynard L. Parker, B.D. Jackson, C.C. Pierce, Harold A. Parker, "Dick" Whittington Studio, Automobile Club of Southern California, William M. Clarke; Foss Designing and Building Co., Wallace Neff, Morgan, Walls & Clements and James Dolena Collections; Southern California Edison photographs and papers); (5) tourism and recreation (photographic collection of Henry Greenwood Peabody; papers and photographs of William Henry Thrall, Warren Lee Rogers; Automobile Club of Southern California Collection, Eugene Swarzwald Pictorial California and the Pacific Collection); (6) literature, arts, and journalism (papers of Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, Paul Conrad, Jack Smith, Al Martinez, Lynden Ellsworth Behymer; Mark Taper Forum collection of scripts; Pasadena Playhouse Archive; Los Angeles Times History Center collection); (7) women's history (papers of Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, Frances Nacke Noel/Job Harriman, Clara Bradley Burdette).