Discover the History of Long Beach

School may have started but there’s still plenty of learning to experience outside of the classroom walls. Long Beach is home to so many museums and here are our top five picks.

The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only museum in the country that is dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino Art. It was founded in 1966 and currently holds 1,600 permanent works of art and a 15,000 square feet sculpture garden. The museum used to be the Balboa Amusement Producing Company’s film studio and there are still touches of the early 1900s. Many exhibitions and offices are housed in what was once a roller rink inside the building. MOLAA offers school and group tours, workshops, summer arts and culture camps, volunteer and membership opportunities and fun events such as the annual gala and mariachi nights. For more information, check out

With a breathtaking view of the ocean, it’s no wonder that the Long Beach Museum of Art is such a popular spot. The museum has been in the 1911 Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house since its inception in 1950. Since 1977, it has been accredited by the American Association of Museums. Even Claire’s, the restaurant next door will give you a view of over 100 ceramics from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The museum’s permanent collection has more than 3,200 works that include furniture, sculptures, and paintings. Notable collections have included: The Artful Teapot: 20th Century Expressions from the Kamm Collection and Architecture for Dogs. 

LBMA has programs such as Art First Tours, Family Art-Making and KidVisions, which serves all 5th-grade students in the Long Beach Unified School District.

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The Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum was founded in 2010. Many of the pieces come from the collection of the late Dr. Robert Gumbiner, who oversaw the initial planning stages before his death in 2009. The current exhibit is Carrying the Pacific: Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenthood which is the first to focus on the birthing traditions of Pacific Islanders. It will also highlight the very real disparities Pacific Islanders face in maternal and mental health, which are often as ignored as Pacific Islanders are often classified with and as Asians. Previous exhibits include Island Ink: Tattoo Traditions of the Pacific, Becoming PIEAM: From Collection to Museum and Island Where – Community Exhibit 

PIEAM offers school and group tours, community and education partnerships and books and videos.

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The Long Beach Fireman’s Historical Society was organized in 1980 by founder Herb Bramley and other volunteers who wanted to show off the rich history of the LB Fire Department. The museum is currently housed in “Old Station 10”. The collection ranges from buckets that were used in the inception of fire departments to horse-drawn apparatus that were used in the early 1900s to a 1965 Mack fire truck.

The Long Beach Fireman’s Historical Society provides vehicles for parades and events, conducts tours for elementary schools and has put together an aluminum can recycling program.


To connect people to the past of Long Beach, the Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) was founded in 1962 and presents various collections of photographs, maps, books, directories, city manager files, postcards, advertising, ephemera, three-dimensional objects, and newspapers. But the most comprehensive source of information made available by this non-profit house is the database called ‘Past Perfect’. The HSLB current collection has about 3,000 photographic images, 27,000 photographic prints and 3,000 slides with images that are from as far back as the 1930s.

The current exhibit, Water Changes Everything, will run until June 2020 and every October, the Historical Society hosts a historical cemetery tour.

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By Casey N. Wilson

Instagram : _caseynwilson