Duarte Historical Society & Museum
Duarte Historical Society & Museum

Ongoing Exhibits

Richard Amadori and his Route 66 Exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum through June.

Bonus Route 66 Exhibit Through June 2022


An additional Route 66 exhibit is now on display from the collection of road warrior Richard Amadori and will remain in the Museum main room through June. 


Route 66 state shields and memorabilia collected along the Mother Road by Amadori over the years will honor America's Main Highway. 

Duarte Woman's Club Exhibit Through April 2022

The Duarte Woman's Club, one of Duarte's longest running philanthropic organizations, will be the subject of an exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum running March through April.

Spode Collection on Display at the Duarte Museum Until December 31

The Museum is featuring an exhibit of Spode China until the end of December.


Spode is a brand of China that was first made in the 1770s in Stoke-on-Trent, England.


Spode Christmas dishes from the collection of Claudia Noel Heller are on display.

Bottles and Carbide Lights Exhibit at Duarte Historical Museum Starting June 12


Duarte resident Alan Heller is happiest when wandering through the desert sorting through trash heaps. The result makes up a new exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum starting Saturday, June 12. 


Heller will exhibit his collection of acetylene gas lamps, known as carbide lights, which spelunkers used to light their way when exploring caves and working in mines. He will also share his bottle collection.


Learn why some bottles turn purple after sitting in the sun. Discover how spelunkers find their way in pitch black caves and mines.


The Museum is located at 777 Encanto Parkway in Duarte and is open Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday each month from 1-3 p.m. Admission is free. Masks must be worn in the museum.

Depression Glass Collection on Display at the Duarte Museum Starting April 10

The Depression glass collection of Karleen Daugherty will be on display at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, for two months beginning on April 10 when the museum reopens after a yearlong mandated closure.


Admission is free and hours are 1-4 p.m. Saturdays, 1-3 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday each month.  Covid restrictions will be diligently adhered to so watch your distance and wear a mask.

Unique Tree Collection on Display at the Duarte Museum


Celebrating the holidays, Duartean Ann Valleroy and her daughter Jeanne are sharing their Christmas tree collection at the Duarte Historical Museum in Encanto Park through December.  Ann’s husband, now deceased, loved to decorate and she and Jeanne now not only cherish the trees he collected, but also the trees his father collected dating back to WWII.


They are displaying a 50-year-old two-foot tall ceramic tree with tiny protruding lights, purchased at Montgomery Wards.  This type tree has made a come back and is again popular.  “My daughter and I started our tree collection in earnest in the Christmas season of 2000. Because we were traveling out of state, rather than putting up a fresh tree, we purchased a three-foot tall fiber optic tree plus a few small artificial trees.  The collection has snow balled and we now look only for unusual decorative trees.”


“One of my favorite trees is an 18-inch-tall ‘stuffed’ cloth tree, sewn by developmentally disabled adult women, who were taught to sew by Angela Levy, of Angela Levy School of Fashion and Design in Alhambra,” says Ann.  She also treasures another stuffed tree circa 1990 to 1995 which was crafted by the seniors at Immaculate Conception Church.  These seniors used to make delightful decorations for the annual Christmas boutique at IC School. They also made a tree from children’s building blocks which she describes as “quite unusual.”


“Jeanne is also quite crafty. She has hand-painted several trees, along with other hand-painted Christmas decorations which adorn our house. The collection grows bigger each year,” Ann noted.


Ann and Jeanne are happy to share the collection.  They see it as a tribute to husband and father John Valleroy (1932-2000).  The Museum is located at 777 Encanto Parkway in Duarte and is open Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday each month from 1-3 p.m.

Local ‘En Plein Air Artists’ to Display Their Work at the Duarte Museum


Most weekends a group of local artists shaded by umbrellas busily creating paintings of the beauty around Duarte may be seen hard at work on their easels shaded by umbrellas.  These “en Plein Air artists” will be exhibiting their creative works at the Duarte Historical Museum through October and November, with the Grand Opening scheduled for October 5 at 5:30 p.m.

These creations are mostly of local areas which will be familiar to those who live in the San Gabriel Valley.  The artist group gathers weekly at various spots in the valley, painting the scene before them.  Under the direction and expertise of their leader, Robert Sherrill of Pasadena, they all agree that they love being out of doors and enjoy the social aspect of group painting.  Sharing their creations is part of that happy place.


The public is invited to the Grand Opening and admission is free.  To view the exhibit after the Grand Opening, the museum is open Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. and the first and second Wednesday, 1-3 p.m.  The Museum is located at 777 Encanto Parkway, Duarte.  For details call (626) 358-0329.

Photo: Robert Sherill

Gone With The Wind Books, Magazines and Memorabilia


Gone with the Wind night will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the famous film’s first showing and feature the grand opening of Colleen MacKay’s display featuring books, magazines and extensive memorabilia of GWTW.  Join us at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at the museum, 777 Encanto Parkway. Colleen’s collection has outgrown her house over the years.  She adds to it constantly picking up anything GWTW at yard sales, antique stores and flea markets.  “If I see it, I buy it,” she admits.


The stars will be with us in spirit.  Scarlett, the plucky belle, teaches us to persevere and never give up; the Mammy, Hattie McDaniel (the first African American to win an Oscar); Prissy who “don’t know nuttin about birthing babies” and, of course, Rhett Butler of “Frankly, I don’t give a damn” fame.


So, dress the part and join us.  Admittance is free.  For more information call (626) 358-0329.

Museum Vector Control Exhibit Through April 2019


Protecting the public from vector-borne disease is the mission of the SGV Mosquito and Vector Control District.  To this end they have set up an exhibit at the Museum which addresses the concerns, the connection between trash and an increase in the mosquito population, and examples of how we can all help control the situation.  The display will remain through April.  Thanks to Carol Anne Hagele, Education Specialist, and Ally Gaspar, Outreach Director, for bringing us the exhibit.

RON HUSBAND, the first African American animator for Walt Disney Studios, will be among those featured in the Black History display at the Duarte Museum.

Duarte Historical Society to Celebrate Black History Month


“Duarte is one of a handful of Southern California towns with a community of African Americans by 1900,” says Susie Ling, Associate Professor of History at Pasadena City College.  “The early 20th century saw ‘the Great Migration’ of African Americans coming west from Jim Crow South.”


Further she explains that “although the West was [considered] the freest part of free America – pure democracy, Southern California was not without its brand of racial discrimination. By the 1920s, growing social segregation developed in Duarte, Monrovia, and Pasadena.”


Celebrating Black History Month, the Duarte Historical Museum is presenting a display featuring a number of locals African American men and women who have made significant contributions to Duarte and our neighboring Monrovia.  They are but a few examples of the tenacity and passion that have made Duarte a great place to live,” says Claudia Heller, Museum president.


To name but a few featured in the exhibit:  Bernice Watson, co-author of On the Duarte; musician Loyd Gibbons who, at age 102, still operates a local bike shop; Don Watson, first Black mayor in the San Gabriel Valley; Lois Gaston, former mayor and community activist; Ron Husband, former animator for Walt Disney; and Ken Bell, 36 year veteran of law enforcement and current long-time DUSD Board member.


The display will commence on February 9, with a grand opening scheduled for 2 p.m. that day at the Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway.  It will run through March. The Museum is open Saturdays, 2-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesday, 1-3 p.m.  Admission is free.  For more information call (626) 358-0329.

Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes Exhibit


Born January 6, 1854, Sherlock Holmes remains the world's favorite sleuth.  Magazines, newsletter, books and movies abound.  For 50 years Alan Heller has collected memorabilia about Holmes and will share these treasures with the Museum.

Bits ’n Pieces of Route 66 Display Opens at the Duarte Museum Through October 2018


Bits ’n Pieces of Route 66 is now on display at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, Duarte.  This potpourri of Route 66 memorabilia will remain through October.  The nostalgic items fill two exhibit cases and are in addition to the Museum’s permanent displays on the Mother Road. 


“We are promoting the Main Street of America in honor of the upcoming Duarte Route 66 parade scheduled for 10 a.m. on September 22, marching from Cotter to Mt. Olive on Huntington Drive (Route 66),” says Claudia Heller, president of the Historical Society. 


There are several contributors to the exhibit including Jennie Avila, curator of the Azusa Historical Society and founding member and president of the California Route 66 Association.


The Museum is open Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesdays 1-3 p.m.  Admission is free.  This and other museum exhibits and activities may be found at www.RanchoDeDuarte.Org.

Ranger Colleen MacKay

Wildlife Connectivity: When They Connect, We All Connect, on Display Through July 2018


In honor of P-22, the wildlife exhibit of Ranger Colleen MacKay (Whittier Narrows Nature Center) will be on display through July. 


The display is to educate and motivate visitors to understand the importance and need of the proposed wildlife crossing near Liberty Canyon. This will create connectivity between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Susana Mountains. This crossing will allow native wildlife both big (mountain lions, bears, and mule deer) and small (cotton tails to reptiles) to cross Interstate 101 without interference or high probability of being struck by an automobile. This will also allow the exchange of territory and allow for species dispersal of young looking for a home range. It will give all species a chance to mate and raise off-spring to expand the diversity of the gene pool.

International Egg Cups on Display Through April 2018


Egg cups of Jean Glass give Easter an international twist.


Duartean Jean Glass was born and raised in Quebec.  As a child she celebrated Easter in a much different way than we do here in the United States.  “When I was young, we didn't get Easter baskets,” she said, “but the Easter Bunny would leave an egg cup at our place at the breakfast table with an Easter egg in it.”   When she came to Duarte in her later years, she only brought one egg cup with her.  Today her collection numbers over 60!


An egg cup, sometimes called an egg server, is a container used for serving boiled eggs within their shell. Egg cups have an upwardly concave portion to hold the egg and often include a base to raise the egg-containing portion and give stability.  This is referred to as footies or mothers.  Egg cups are often made of porcelain, pottery, wood, plastic, or glass and designs range from simple to artistic and detailed.


Her oldest egg cup is one of a pair that belonged to her mother.  The silver cup stands on a pink plate with a silver spoon and was a gift to her parents when they were married in 1927.  Her newest addition is a pair of German cups she received from her daughter as a gift.


Jean’s egg cup collection will be on display at the Duarte Historical Museum for the months of March and April.

Combined Spode collections of Claudia Heller (left) and Kathy Kirchner are on display for the Christmas season in the Museum. (Photo by Alan Heller)

Spode Christmas China on Display Through December 2017


The history of Spode will be on display through December at the Duarte Historical Museum.


Kathy Kirchner's and Claudia's Heller's collections focus on Spode Christmas china and features holiday-designed plates, glassware, serving pieces and more. Spode is a Stoke-on-Trent based pottery company founded by Josiah Spode (1733-1797) in England.

Richard Amadori

Historic Route 66 Display Through September 2017


Duartean Richard Amadori, an amateur photographer and highway historian, gets his kicks studying, exploring and snapping photos of the historic Route 66, and will share the fruits of his passion with an exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum in August and September.  Since the 1980s he has traveled many stretches of the mother road from California to the eastern border of New Mexico collecting authentic Route 66 items as well as contemporary memorabilia.


"My main interest in Route 66 is through California's Mojave Desert, an area I call The Ghost Town District. My exhibit for the Duarte Historical Museum is a culmination of my travels through The Ghost Town District and beyond, and it contains some of the most presentable items and photographs from my collection," says Richard. 

Having always owned a high clearance vehicle, he has been able to travel on many abandoned segments of Route 66 in the deserts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. "It's these areas that I find most intriguing and well-preserved. Being out there gives one the feeling that time has stood still, and there remain many untouched traces of a bygone era."


Richard has resided in Duarte for a year and a half.  He appreciates and is very familiar with Duarte's rich history as a thriving Route 66 town. "For instance, I made quite a few visits to The Trails Restaurant for dinner and drinks, and 16 years later it's still very disappointing to me that this fine restaurant is long gone."


Richard volunteers as a docent at the Duarte Historical Museum, and enjoys welcoming visitors and answering their questions. He is avid hiker and has done many hikes to Fish Canyon Falls and Mount Bliss. As a former member of both the California and Arizona Route 66 associations he has been rewarded with opportunities of being involved in the preservation aspects of this historic highway.  He was a participant in the Route 66 Shield Relay, an event which commemorated the 66th anniversary of Route 66.


This unique exhibit is featured at the Duarte Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, Duarte, through September as part of the celebration of the Route 66 parade scheduled for September 23. Museum hours are Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and the first and third Wednesdays 1-3 p.m.  Admission is free. For further information call 626 357-9419.

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.

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By Lynne Miller


July 21, 2024, 3 p.m.

Contact Us Today!

Duarte Historical Society & Museum

777 Encanto Parkway

Duarte, CA 91010


Phone: (626) 357-9419


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


Website: www.RanchoDeDuarte.org

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