Duarte Historical Society & Museum
Duarte Historical Society & Museum

Ongoing Exhibits

Ranger Colleen MacKay of Whittier Narrows has created the wildlife display to educate the public about local wildlife. (Photo by Claudia Heller)

Wildlife Connectivity Display Through May 2017

It’s all in the family!  When Duartean Beth Singer met her husband while she was doing research on breast cancer, they became a three-science fiction aficionado family.  Beth inherited the love of collecting sci fi memorabilia from her mother, who also collects.


"Wildlife Connectivity:  When They Connect, We All Connect" will be on display at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, Duarte, through May.  Pelts, skulls and footprints of local animals such as coyote, bear, mountain lion and deer are featured as well as information regarding the proposed wildlife crossing between the Santa Monica and Santa Susanna Mountains.  The Museum is open Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday 1-3 p.m.  Free.  For information call (626) 357-9419.

Star Trek Exhibit Through February 2017

It’s all in the family!  When Duartean Beth Singer met her husband while she was doing research on breast cancer, they became a three-science fiction aficionado family.  Beth inherited the love of collecting sci fi memorabilia from her mother, who also collects.
 
Beth grew up in Indiana and came to Southern California to work at Amgen, a Biotech company in Thousand Oaks.  She then earned a PhD in Biochemistry at UCLA. She became a Post Doctoral Fellow at City of Hope and moved to Duarte in 2002. Currently Beth works at UCLA and BCN, a small Biotech company in Pasadena, as a scientist developing mitigators of radiation exposure which could have applications in radiation oncology to protect normal tissue from radiation damage.
 
With such an important and intense career, she finds solace in her ever-growing sci fi collection.  “I have always loved science and science fiction and started collecting around 20 years ago.  I started selling on Ebay in 2001 as my collection had grown too large.   I also inherited my Mother's collection,” says Beth.
 
“I focus on selling fanzines (amateur fan publications) from TV shows such as Star Trek and Star Wars, but include hundreds of TV shows.  I also have scripts, original art, original photos, film clips, toys, and magazines.
 
Beth attends two science fiction conventions a year making contact with people who wish to sell their collections either at the convention or privately. “I usually only buy collections and estates, and also people hear about me by word of mouth and the internet.  The items I buy cannot usually be found in thrift shops or garage sales or even used bookstores.  Most had very limited print runs of 100 or less so they are very rare.”
 
Her home is built around her collection which dominates every room plus a shed. During January and February, the Star Trek portion of Beth’s collection will be on exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, Duarte.  The display will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and celebrate the life of Leonard Nimoy.  The Museum is open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday, 1-3 p.m.  Admission is free.

History of Marbles Display Through November 2016

 

Broken, faded and tattered, the box contained a few dozen marbles.  The owner, Duartean Nick Montalvo, beamed as he lifted the lid revealing its contents which he proceeded to remove one by one while reciting the history of each.  The box is known as a “time capsule” and the handmade marbles represent sixty years of marbles, a multigenerational collection going back to the 1840s up to the 1930s, handed down from fathers to sons for more than a century and a half.

 

At first glance they appear to be just marbles, but look closely and their personalities emerge.  Nick explains each one in almost a reverent manner.  They are like his personal friends and he treats each with respect.  “Here is a Bennington, made of crockery,” he says.  “And these are called ‘Chinas’ as they are made of porcelain and hand painted.”  Among them is an Indian Blanket marble made in Germany, a latticing swirl which reveals a net of colors inside when under light, and a Lutz, sparkling with gold flakes. Glass hand-made marbles were cut from a cane of glass with a cup to make the round shape. Their tell-tale mark is a flat spot on top. 

 

Machine produced marbles were made in Akron Ohio in the 1890s and as an example he introduces a promotional marble which sports the name Coca Cola.  M.F. Christianson Company was the largest company producing machine made marbles until it went out of business in 1936.  The Vitro Marble Company continued in business featuring character marbles such as Superman, Batman etc. 

 

After WWII, there was a surplus of machines from which ball bearings were extracted for use as marbles. 

 

And where do marbles nestle?  Stuffed in a pocket is one way, but marble bags became popular and these too are in Nick’s collection.   His favorite is a leather bag from the 1950s made by the House of Marbles.  Nick says serious marble collectors need a jeweler’s loop or magnifying glass, and glass plant frogs on which to display the marbles. 

 

Wild about marbles since childhood, it was a passion in which his daughters had little interest.  Enter his son, Michael, 8, a third grader at La Fetra School in Glendora.  It is a bond between the two and yes, they play!  The most popular game is “ringers.”  Each player gets 13 marbles which they place in a five foot circle.  The opponent shoots a marble into the opponent’s circle in an effort to shoot their marbles out of the circle.  For each marble shot out, the shooter gets 5 points.  The first one to reach 50 points wins. In some games the players may choose to play “keepsies” where the player who shoots the marble out of the circle gets to keep it.  If a player knuckles down over the circle line, he loses his turn.  A marble player is called a “mibster” and marbles are often called “mibs.”  Nick likes the way the game brings players face to face unlike the modern digital games.

 

Although his collection contains marbles from the 1800s, much older marbles exist.  They have been found in Egyptian tombs, in Native Indian sites, in Druid burial grounds, and in many areas throughout Europe.

 

Nick has lived in Duarte since 1973.  He went to Valley View School, Immaculate Conception, La Salle, and graduated from Duarte High School in 1983.  He attended Art Center College of Design and Citrus College.  His artistic side has served him well in construction work, building props for the movie industry, and in his personal life.  The marble collection he shares with his son has grown over the years thanks to his constant visits to antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores and flea markets.

 

This historically significant collection is on display through November at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, in Duarte.  The museum is open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m.  Admission is free.  For more information call (626) 357-9419.

Duarte Woman's Club Exhibit Now on Display Through February 2016

 

The Duarte Woman's Club is featured in an exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum through February.  Compiled by Luz Porlier, it features the many philanthropic projects of the Club and also displays some of the handiwork created by members.  The Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, is open on Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday each month, 1-3 p.m.

January & February 2015

Grand Opening & Reception: Saturday, January 10th at 2 p.m

 

The Hello Kitty collection of Duarte Mayor Tzeitel Paras Caracci is on on exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum and will remain through February.  The anthropomorphic white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow, affectionately known as “Hello Kitty”   is a childrens' favorite, and is apparently revered by adults too.  Tzeitel is two years older than the famed classic red-bowed kitty which turned forty this year.   “I wouldn’t call myself so much as a collector as an admirer who enjoys collecting just about anything that has Hello Kitty on it.  Ever since the third grade, I have loved Hello Kitty.”  There are some variations on Hello Kitty, fictional characters created by the Japanese company Sanrio.  The first such character appeared on a vinyl purse in 1974 and hit the States in 1976.  By 2010 Sanrio had groomed the character into a global marketing phenomenon worth $5 billion a year.  This 40th birthday year for Hello Kitty sees her worth at over $7 billion, “without any advertising.”

 

So, when a Hello Kitty lover reaches adulthood, what then?  “When I was eight years old, I was content with sweet smelling erasers and pencils.  As an adult, my Hello Kitty items include a microwave, toaster, coffee maker, rice cooker, and popcorn maker,” says Tzeitel.  “My inventory also includes golf clubs, an electric guitar and a skateboard, in addition to a tote bags, wallets and jewelry.”

 

Tzeitel fears this is an “addiction,” but she chooses to call it “an admiration to the nth degree.”  Jack Russell, son of Tzeitel and KC Caracci, has a few Hello Kitty items in his room, but at age eleven months, he could hardly object. 

 

“Hello Kitty has been a part of my life since I was a little girl, and even though she is drawn without a mouth, she always makes people all over the world smile.”  Spokespeople for Sanrio have said that Hello Kitty does not have a mouth because they want people to "project their feelings onto the character" and "be happy or sad together with Hello Kitty." Another explanation Sanrio has given for her lack of a mouth is that she "speaks from the heart.”

 

Anxious to share with the community, Tzeitel will display her voluminous collection at the Duarte Historical Museum in Encanto Park during January and February, with a grand opening and reception scheduled for January 10 at 2 p.m. The public is invited.

 

“We are thrilled to display her collection and invite Hello Kitty fans of all ages to visit,” says Sheri Uhlig, Vice President of the Duarte Historical Society.

January 6th - 31st, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Exhibit

Duarte Library, County of Los Angeles Public Library

 

Happy birthday Sherlock Holmes!  The famed sleuth’s birthday is said to be January 6, 1854, as deduced by scholars after researching many literary clues.  It is on that date each year that Sherlockians gather to celebrate and the Baker Street Irregulars converge on an iconic Holmes spot such as 221B Baker Street in London.

 

A fictional character created by Scottish author and physician Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes is known for his astute logical thinking and his ability to adopt a variety of disguises.  He is thought of as a real person by his fans, after first appearing in 1887 in four novels and 56 short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Over the years, Holmes has become even more popular with dozens of new stories, television series and movies, offshoots of originals stories, and even new books characterizing those traits for which he is admired. 

 

An avid Sherlock Holmes fan, Duartean Alan Heller, will pay his birthday respects at the Duarte Library, 1301 Buena Vista, with an in depth exhibit featuring Sherlock Holmes action figures, books, videos, and other ephemera.  Having collected all things pertinent to the British detective, he has studied Doyle’s writings.  The display will run through the month of January.

 

Monday - Thursday:  11am - 8pm

Friday - Saturday:    11am - 6pm

Sunday:    Closed

For more information and Duarte Library of Los Angeles County, call: 626 358-1865.

Contact Us Today!

Duarte Historical Society & Museum

777 Encanto Parkway

Duarte, CA 91010

Phone: (626) 357-9419

Email: info@RanchoDeDuarte.org

Send Mail to: P.O. Box 263, Duarte, CA 91009

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