Visitors to Catalina Island looking to take in the full depth of the islands 400+ year history will want to visit the Catalina Museum located in the Catalina Casino. Visitors already planning a trip to the Catalina Casino will also definitely want to make a quick stop at the Catalina Museum to learn more about where the island has been and where its going. The museum offers a variety of exhibits designed to educate and take the visitors back in time to the various periods Catalina has gone through from before North America was inhabited and the various Native American tribes occupied the island to the past 80 years when the Chicago Cubs were regulars on Catalina.
The Catalina Museum presents its exhibits in two different formats. One is its research collection that shows where the island has archeologically been in the past hundreds of years. The other is a main exhibit that changes every three months that focuses on aspect of the island's history. For example during March and April of 2011 the Museum has a full exhibit on the Chicago Cubs and their annual journey to Catalina Island for spring training.
The research and collections exhibit at the museum includes over 150,000 items that fall into the following categories: archeology, photographs, newspapers, archives, natural history, oral history and audio/visual art. This items depict all forms of Catalina Island history from photographs documenting early island life in the late 1800s, boat models of the various boats to visit the island, artifacts from Native Americans living on the island and tile that was manufactured from Catalina clay on the island in the 1920s-just to name a few. Items in these collections are both from donations and found material during archeological expeditions.
The other offering of the Catalina Museum is one of its 3 month exhibits. Running from the month of September all the way to October 31st will be an exhibit that highlights the life and times of Marilyn Monroe and her brief residency on Catalina Island. Exhibits include photos of Marilyn at various points around the island including in front of the Catalina Casino.