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Nine reasons the Catalina Island Museum is a must-see experience while on Catalina Island


Last summer, the highly-anticipated Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Catalina Island Museum opened to rave reviews. The expansive facility offers space for permanent and temporary exhibits as well as unique event space. Since its opening, the combination of events and exhibits have made the museum a must-see attraction on Catalina Island. Here are just a few reasons why.Art exhibit at the Catalina Museum for Art and History.

Catalina history
Catalina’s human history stretches back about 10,000 years — generations of native islanders forged a distinct culture here; becoming accomplished seafarers and trading with mainland tribes. Once the island was discovered by European explorers, it became home to cowboys and soldiers, traders and trappers, celebrities and conservationists. That diverse history is showcased in innovative, interactive galleries that make Catalina history come to life.

Silent Film Benefit
Each spring, “silents, please!” is the order of the day for the museum’s annual Silent Film Benefit. Featuring a classic silent film with orchestral accompaniment, the benefit showcases the Avalon Theatre in all its glory.

First Fridays
On the first Friday of every month, the museum opens in the evening for a special cultural experience. Food and beverages are available as well as a unique program highlighting one of the museum’s four areas of focus: history, art, film and music.

The only public place in Southern California to see one of the world’s best glass artists is the Catalina Island Museum. Dale Chihuly’s works challenge the possible and inspire the imagination. Several large-scale installations at the museum leave viewers open-jawed with awe and the smaller pieces foster a new appreciation for the artistry behind art glass. Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum will be on display through December 11.

Chihuly at Sunset
The only thing better than seeing Chihuly’s works in the daytime, is seeing them at night when light and dark create a new dimension for the breathtaking works. Every Thursday through August 31, the museum has added extra hours for visitors to experience Chihuly at Sunset. A bar will be available during the extra hours, which extend until 9 pm.

Summer film series
Catalina’s mild weather and the new museum’s outdoor amphitheater have created the perfect environment for a film series. Scheduled for June 21, July 12, July 26, August 9 and August 23, each of the films will be from a different decade and each will have a connection to Catalina Island. Films begin at dusk and refreshments will be available.

Just about daily admission
It’s always a good day to visit the Catalina Island Museum. Whether you are looking for a day out of the sun – or a way to get out of the rain, the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Catalina Island Museum is a perfect destination. Open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 10 am – 5 pm, the museum is $17 for adults; $15 for seniors, military and students; and free for kids under 15 with a paid adult admission. Ready to save? Museum members receive free admission as well as discounts to museum events.

Shopping at the museum store
One of the best places to find a unique Catalina Island souvenir is the Catalina Island Museum Store. Carefully curated and artfully presented, the store features jewelry, gifts, books and more. One of the most popular items is a beach towel with the art deco mermaid from the Casino Building’s loggia.

Kids treasure map
Got kids? They’ll love the Catalina Island Museum – especially if you pick up a copy of the treasure map when you first arrive. The map will lead kids through the history galleries on a scavenger hunt for information. Once completed, the map can be brought to the Catalina Island Museum Store for a special souvenir.


by Sherri Cline

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