The Santa Monica History Museum is offering free evening entry twice a week through Labor Day to accommodate busy locals who can’t visit during business hours.
Officials said the free nights are part of their ongoing mission to open the city’s history to anyone and everyone.
“We believe that history is for everyone,” said Development and Museum Manager, Ashley Jackson. “And it there’s a way to make sure it’s accessible for all, we want to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Even though the museum has had free admission days in the past, the museum hopes that by making the museum more accessible they will be able to educate a wider range of visitors than ever before.
“The museum still holds free admission days once a month in addition to special admission days throughout the year,” Jackson said. “Our attendance has consistently shown that these days bring in more visitors and we are seeing more young adults and families than before.”
The museum began life in 1975 as the Santa Monica Historical Society whose self-described mission was to “collect and preserve the history, art and culture of the Santa Monica Bay Area and to be the guardian/caretaker of the history.”
In the following years, the Santa Monica Historical Society earned a reputation as an archival work house that managed to collect and preserve much of Santa Monica’s history. As their collections grew so did the group’s desire to share this information. So, in 1988 the Santa Monica Historical Society opened its doors for the first time as the Santa Monica History Museum and the current facility now lies on the eastern side of the Main Library in the heart of Santa Monica.
“The museum’s significance has grown since its founding as a historical society in 1975,” Jackson said. “We have been fortunate enough to have overwhelming public support which has allowed us to grow and find our home here at the Santa Monica Public Library.”
Organizers said the doors to this museum are open to all who wish to enhance their knowledge on the rich history of the city. Whether it’s through flipping through the Then and Now photo station or waltzing through the alluring arch of the Donald Douglas Aircraft exhibit, the Santa Monica History Museum’s exhibits will take you through a doorway into the past, a past many residents didn’t know existed.
“Our exhibits consistently provide visitors with a history many are unaware of,” Jackson said. “Often our visitors leave knowing something special about their city that they didn’t know before.”
Although small in physical appearance, the work put into the historical maintenance is vast. Going from a simple summary about the native tribes that originally populated the Santa Monica Bay Area to the old centerpiece for the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier, the weight the photos and artifacts have on visitors is tremendous.
“The Santa Monica History Museum is home to a vast collection of unique items that are not available from other organizations,” Jackson said. “We offer a more in-depth look into our city’s complex and interesting history.”
While for many people, history was always the subject they fell asleep to in high school, taking a trip to the Santa Monica History Museum can have a lasting impact on visitors. Between its permanent exhibits and its current rotational exhibit on KCRW, the museum teaches its visitors the importance of keeping in touch with our cities roots and the benefits of taking a small portion out of your day to experience the museum.
“We hope to teach the public about the importance of institutions like ours and inspire community and civic engagement,” Jackson said.
Free nights will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 8 p.m. until Labor Day 2017. The museum is located at 1350 7th St. Call (310) 395-2290 or visit santamonicahistory.org for more information.