California Heritage Museum – Santa Monica, California - Atlas Obscura

California Heritage Museum

The diverse and sometimes odd cultural heritage of the Golden State is collected, examined, and displayed in this proud museum. 


California is a truly magical place. Even disinterested observers taking the most cursory of glances can see almost immediately that it’s a land of unbelievably varied influences and disparate locales.

After all, the state’s shocking geographical diversity, with sweeping coastlines, northern mountains, central forests and inland deserts, is the reason Hollywood became the motion picture mecca – one can film in any type of environment with just a few hours’ drive. And culturally, there is even more to choose from. Spanish influences, both historic and modern, abound. Celebrity glitz butts up against skateboarder culture. Hippies rub elbows with executives, farmland is crisscrossed by fiber optic cable, and empty desert is pocked with solar panels.

If you ever thought there should be a museum dedicated to all of these interrelated angles, you wouldn’t be the first.

The California Heritage museum is just such a place, where recent and distant cultural histories intermingle in exhibits ranging from skateboarding origins to Mexican calendar girls – from the Golden Age of cinema to the ecology of the Pacific Ocean.

Fed by (what else) popular and ever-changing food truck services, visitors of all shapes and sizes come to experience the history of a state, and a culture, as unique as they are.

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