Ever been accused of being lost in the past? It’s not just a good thing, but a great thing at Pasadena-area museums this fall. Find your way back in time at the many exhibits designed to capture the feel and flavor of a bygone era. Feast your eyes on extravagant, chic or traditional fashions from a time when there were no ‘like’ buttons, viral pics or videos, and the comment section was a century or two away. What society looked like during those times bears little resemblance to its current incarnation, and when viewed through the lens of a visitor at one of the many world-class museums in the area, the effect is illuminating.
Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 449-6840 • nortonsimon.org
The prestigious Norton Simon Museum presents By Day & by Night: Paris in the Belle Époque. Come relive the magic of this historic Parisian era with the Norton Simon’s stunning collection of drawings, prints, photographs and paintings. Belle Époque literally means ‘beautiful era’ in French, and it’s a fitting moniker.
Exhibit runs Oct. 4 – March 20
Also not to be missed at the Norton Simon is Beyond the World We Know: Abstraction in Photography. It’s an in-depth look at the role abstraction plays in photography and how we view our world, as well as how we view art.
Exhibit runs Nov. 22 – April 6
Kids Space Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 449-9144 • kidspacemuseum.org
Located near the Rose Bowl, this parental favorite continues to amaze and delight children with educational, fun exhibits that challenge the mind and stimulate the imagination. Come check out the Gypsy Dance Ensemble (Sept. 8) at their Performance on the Frog Stone Hollow Amphitheater, and Pirate Day (Sept. 15) with lots of pirate-themed fun activities and even a Pirate Band sing-along.
Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena
(626) 577-1660 • pasadenahistory.org
A time traveler’s dream is Starting Anew: Transforming Pasadena, 1890-1930. Pasadena was in flux between 1890 and 1930. The energy and vibe of the city was firmly in-step with the rapid growth in key industries such as agriculture, transportation and tourism. The exhibition seeks to delve into the fascinating mystery of what drew those first settlers and men of industry to our beautiful city; what roles they played in its development, and what documents, images, photographs and art were representative of the period.
Exhibit runs Nov. 13-March 31
USC Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
(626) 449-2742 • pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu
Next up at the USC Pacific Asia Museum is Following the Box. It’s a moving art exhibit inspired by an impressive collection of photographs taken by an anonymous serviceman at the end of World War II. The photos are presented by guest curators Allan Teller and Jerri Zbiral. Following the Box features the diverse work of 12 artists influenced by the vintage photos and includes graphic art, film, paintings, mixed media, book and folk art, and even a documentary scheduled to screen at selected times throughout the exhibition.
Exhibit Runs Sept. 13-Jan. 26
Southern California Children’s Museum
459 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 657-0357 • socalkids.org
This crowd-pleasing museum is proud of its approach to “play-based activities designed to foster excitement and spark a real sense of wonder.” It’s easy to see why this museum is so beloved by locals and out-of-towners, alike. While the museum is currently working on new collections and exhibits, their Touch-A-Truck month remains a winner with young people of all ages. It provides a tactile learning experience where kids can use multiple senses to explore and learn about heavy machinery, as well as emergency and recreational vehicles and trucks.
The exhibit runs thru 2019. Check website for exact times.
651 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena
(626) 441-6333 • pasadenaheritage.org
Renowned for its walking tours, Pasadena Heritage never disappoints. Guests are treated to informational, guided tours of various well-known and not-so-well-known areas of the city. Learn about the historical and architectural relevance of these mostly-restored gems of a city that not only knows where it came from, but appreciates and reveres their origins. Try the Old Pasadena Pub Crawl, The Old Pasadena Historic District, or the Arden Road Neighborhood Walking Tour, or one of the many other wonderful walking tours available. Tours and other events run throughout the year. Check website or call for times and dates.
The Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena
(626) 793-3334 • gamblehouse.org
Not just a stunning example of the first-class architecture of Greene and Greene, The Gamble House has become a destination of choice for artist showcases, concerts and lectures. Join them in October for ArtNight Pasadena (October 11); a free citywide public event that partners various local cultural institutions and the Cultural Affairs Division of the city of Pasadena. It is also sponsored by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission. Also featured at The Gamble House is Woman of the Year Tour, featuring Maki Mae (Oct. 6), a brilliant soprano and concert violinist.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
(626) 405-2100 • huntington.org
Surround yourself with beauty at the Huntington. It’s everywhere; in the trees, the flowers and the impeccable art featured therein. The Huntington has existed for decades as not just a premier destination for art, but a serene setting where one can experience the exquisiteness of nature when art informs the design of it. Their lovely botanical gardens evoke in me memories of quiet solitude among fragrant, brilliantly hued flowers as well as of outdoor frolicking in an idyllic setting as tranquil as it is vibrant and stimulating. Truly a sight to behold. Join them for their centennial celebration this year in Nineteen Nineteen, as they look back at what was, and visit again and again to see what’s new.
Check website for ongoing installations and botanical garden events.
The Bunny Museum
2605 Lake Ave., Altadena
(626) 798-8848 • thebunnymuseum.com
Hop on over to this whimsical ode to our favorite furry bouncer, the rabbit. Peter Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, Bugs, Thumper and even the little Energizer Bunny would all approve of the loving care and attention paid to spotlighting the sweet, four-legged ball of fluff. The museum bills itself as “The World’s Biggest Bunny Museum” and “The Hoppiest Place on Earth”. It tells the story of the role of bunnies in advertising, fashion, film, art, and life in general. Not all images are for the faint of heart and the bunnies are not for petting, so parental discretion and oversight is key, but all are welcomed — with a smile.
South Pasadena Historical Museum
913 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena
(626) 799-9089 • southpasadenaca.gov
It’s no accident that Pasadena is celebrated as a superb destination for work, play and intellectual stimulation. Beautiful weather, cultural diversity and myriad entertainment venues abound. What it does, it does exceedingly well, and art in Pasadena — as well as the enjoyment of it — is so much than a trip to your local museum. It’s a veritable feast for the senses. Let the edification begin!