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Catalina Island is located about 20 miles off the Southern California coast, and while it’s not a very large island, it has quite an interesting history. From 8,000-year-old settlements to the famous local pottery of the 1920s-1930s and the island’s wartime role to old Hollywood lore, you can learn all about this storied isle at the Catalina Island Museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Santa Catalina Island, as well as displaying rotating art exhibits, and it’s a must-see during your time on the island.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit to the Catalina Island Museum in Avalon, California.
About the Catalina Island Museum
Catalina Island Museum originally opened in 1953 at the Avalon Casino. The museum was founded in order to preserve the island’s history and provide a space where visitors could learn about it. The museum was opened with the help of Philip K. Wrigley, who wanted to make sure the island’s heritage was kept safe. Philip Wrigley was the son of William Wrigley Jr., who was responsible for establishing Catalina as a place where all people could vacation and explore.
Sixty-three years later, the Catalina Island Museum moved and re-opened. It opened in June 2016 at its new home, the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building on Metropole Avenue.
Today, the museum displays a mix of local history and rotating exhibits. The historical displays range from Tongva and Gabrielino artifacts to old Hollywood stories featuring Marilyn Monroe, George Harrison, and many others. Rotating exhibits dedicated to history, art, and film also come through the museum.
The Catalina Island Museum hosts local events as well. Film screenings, book signings, and benefits all take place at the museum. Additionally, First Fridays at the Museum takes place on the first Friday of each month, when visitors can explore the museum with a cocktail in hand.
Tickets and Hours
Regular adult admission to the Catalina Island Museum is $17.00. Tickets for students, seniors, and members of the military are $15.00. Admission for children 15 years old and younger is free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
The Catalina Island Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on New Year’s Day (January 1), Independence Day (July 4), Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25).
How to Get to the Catalina Island Museum
The Catalina Island Museum is located along Metropole Avenue. Like nearly everywhere in Avalon, you can easily get to the museum on foot. The museum is just .1 mile, or about a three-minute walk, up Metropole Avenue from Crescent Avenue along the waterfront.
The Catalina Island Museum is located at 217 Metropole Ave, Avalon, CA 90704.
Rules and Tips
As with all museums and historical sights, there are some important things to know and rules to follow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the Catalina Island Museum.
- Food and drinks are not allowed in the galleries.
- Backpacks and luggage are not allowed.
- Yeah, Avalon is a beach town, but note that you must wear shoes, shirts, and bathing suit cover-ups inside the museum.
- You may take photographs in the museum, but tripods and flash photography are not allowed.
- You can use your cell phone inside the museum, but be courteous. If you need to take a call, do so outside the gallery.
- Anyone younger than 15 years old must be with an adult.
- You may not bring pets to the museum. However, service animals and emotional support animals are allowed.
The Catalina Island Museum is a beautiful space full of history and art. It’s a great place to visit during a trip to Catalina to learn all about this storied island. Cheers!