Your one stop shop for all events, workshops, lectures
and other fun happenings at Rancho Los Cerritos.

 Museum Public Hours:

 Wednesday - Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Phone: (562) 206-2040
Fax: (562)


  Find us on:





Volunteer Open House


Wednesday, January 21 - 4-5:30 p.m. 

Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is seeking volunteers to help sustain, preserve and share the precious historic and cultural landmark. The property, home to a 170 year old two story Monterey-style adobe, is maintained by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation, a not-for-profit entity that relies significantly upon volunteers to connect the site with the community, and with visitors from around the world.

Rancho Los Cerritos is especially interested in finding enthusiastic volunteers to join our team of Garden Docents. “We share the history and the stories of the plants in our gardens,” explained staff horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre, “so that visitors develop a deeper understanding of the site, and the people who lived here.” The Rancho is also seeking motivated volunteers to train as House Docents, who provide guided tours of the old adobe and teach visitors about its antique furnishings. “Rancho Los Cerritos delights visitors from far and near because of the dedication of our volunteer docents, who share the site’s history in fun and informative ways,” adds the site’s education director, Meighan Maguire.

On Wednesday, January 21, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., the Rancho is hosting a Volunteer Open House to introduce community members to the many available volunteer opportunities. With free training, volunteers can serve as tour docents, work with the staff horticulturist in the gardens, help the historic curator to categorize and preserve antiques, assist with the museum shop, or help at monthly programs like Creation Station and seasonal events like our Summer Concert Series, Mud Mania, and Old Time Christmas Festival.

House Docent training begins on Wednesday, February 4th, and continues on Wednesday afternoons through March 25th. Classes run from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Garden Docent training begins on Friday, February 20th from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and continues on Friday mornings through March 20th. Individuals interested in volunteering should RSVP to 562-206-2040, or email the Rancho’s volunteer coordinator, Jan Shafer, at

View the flyer





House Docent Training


Wednesdays, Feb 4 - Mar 25, 3:30 to 7 p.m. 

Join the Rancho Los Cerritos team for its eight-week house docent-training program. History enthusiasts will learn about the Rancho, and early California history, from Native American times to the 1940s. Training for house docent guides begins Wednesday, February 4th, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. For more information or to register for this very special volunteer opportunity, please call (562) 206-2042.

House docents share stories of daily life at Rancho Los Cerritos between the years 1844-1940. At the end of training, participants will be ready to give informative and engaging tours to the public. Rancho Los Cerritos offers guided tours Wednesday through Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Docents may also choose to go through another set of training to become a “living history” guide. They can choose from an array of rich and interesting historic characters–family members, vaqueros, cooks, sheepherders, gardeners and more. Training provides not only detailed historical accounts for each individual, but also tools for theatrical interpretation and information on costuming.

View the flyer





Garden Docent Training


Fridays, Feb 20 - Mar 20, 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

This 5-week training course focuses on the history of the Rancho’s gardens and grounds from the 1840s through the 1930s. Discover the various garden “rooms” and how Rancho families used them. Learn about the site’s historic plants, then share these stories with the public!

View the flyer





Overview of 2015 Events

Lecture Series: Remembering the Civil War: Perspectives on Race, Place, and Movement

Third Saturdays, 10 - 11:30 a.m. from February – May

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is presenting Remembering the Civil War: Perspectives on Race, Place, and Movement, a four-part Saturday morning lecture series featuring renowned scholars who bring unique insights to this tumultuous era.

February 21: Christopher Bates presents "Mystic Chords of Memory: Why People Love the Civil War.” The enormous popularity of movies like "Gone With the Wind" and "Glory," documentaries like Ken Burns' "The Civil War," and books like "The Killer Angels" and "Battle Cry of Freedom" speaks to Americans' profound and enduring fascination with the Civil War. But why is the war such a popular—indeed, beloved—part of American (and world) history? The answer to this question is much more complicated than it might seem, at first glance.

Bates is a lecturer in the Department of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His research focuses on the place of the Civil War in American culture, and he is currently at work on a study of Civil War re-enactors entitled "What they Fight For: The Men and Women of Civil War Reenactment."

March 21: Dr. David Miller presents “'A thralldom grievous and intolerable': Slavery, the American Civil War, and the Legacy of Race.” Dr. Miller will explore issues of race in the Civil War and its aftermath. He will show how the War and Reconstruction left a profound racial inequality in its wake and will consider the implications of that legacy today.

Slavery, as a labor and political issue, was the central cause of the American Civil War. And because slavery had become explicitly racialized by the late 17th century, the Civil War necessarily included issues of race. Emancipation and the 15th Amendment ended slavery but left many questions unanswered, especially in terms of labor and politics. The post-war Reconstruction era was then a period of conflict as Americans attempted to resolve those lingering questions.

As the nation reunited in a reconciliation of the sections, the races divided into a strict Jim Crow system characterized by disenfranchisement, poverty, segregation, and violence. Blacks were then for the most part left to their own devices to address what in 1880 Frederick Douglass called a “thralldom grievous and intolerable.” The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s was in many ways America’s Second Reconstruction and Black activists consciously evoked Emancipation and the Civil War in their quest for political equality. Today questions of race remain at the forefront of our national dialogue and it behooves us to consider them within the context of slavery, the Civil War, Emancipation, and the failures of Reconstruction.

David Miller received his Ph.D. in nineteenth-century United States history from the University of California, San Diego in 2007. His research interests are nineteenth-century culture, myth, and memory. He teaches at the University of San Diego offering courses that include the History of Race and Ethnicity, The American Civil War and Reconstruction, the Civil War in Popular Culture, and the Civil War in Film.

April 11: Dr. Glenna Matthews will present “The Civil War and the Birth of Modern California.” Dr. Matthews’ lecture will make the case that, contrary to popular belief, the Civil War played a large role in the state’s early development. She will show how the war bound the state-literally and metaphorically-to the rest of the nation by giving much of the populace a unifying civic role to play during the conflict.

Dr. Matthews is the author of many books, including the much lauded The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican Party, and the Birth of Modern California. Dr. Matthews is an independent scholar who has taught at many prestigious institutions, including U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, and UCLA.

May 16: Dr. Todd W. Wahlstrom presents “North and South to the Border: Yankees, Confederates, and Mexico after the Civil War.” After the Civil War, northerners and southerners crossed over the U.S.-Mexico border in pursuit of economic opportunities. Union general William S. Rosecrans, for example, sought to build transnational railroads and use the economic energies of the United States to forge a cooperationist pathway with Mexico and Latin America. Similarly, Confederate general Jo Shelby worked to develop agricultural colonies and create a bi-regional trade partnership between Mexico and the South. This talk examines the dual movement of Yankees and Confederates into Mexico and how the end of the Civil War served as a launching point for rebinding the Union on new economic foundations.

Dr. Wahlstrom is a visiting professor of history at Pepperdine University and author of The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration across the Borderlands after the American Civil War. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his research focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, the American West and South, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Lectures begin at 10 a.m. and last 90 minutes, including time for audience questions. Admission is $7, $5 for students with I.D., and is payable at the door. Seating is limited, so advance registration is encouraged. The series is part of an ongoing effort by the Rancho to present low cost and free programming that expands the understanding of California history for area residents. To register, and for more information, please call 562-206-2040.




Sounds & Spaces: “Made in America” Concert

Presented by Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
Sunday, June 14
7 PM
Free concert includes performances of Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, Jennifer Higdon’s "Autumn Music" for Wind Quintet, Jeff Scott’s “Homage to Duke,” and Arturo Marquez’ Danza al Mediodía
Reservations Required

Summer Concert Series

4th Sundays in June, July, and August
5:30 – 7:00 PM
Free concerts in the Rancho’s beautiful backyard, featuring top notch musicians.
Gate opens at 4:30 for pre-concert picknicing

10th Annual Summer Adventure Day Camp

Three week-long sessions in July
10 AM – 2 PM
Kids ages 6-11 enjoy fun crafts, games and activities with just a bit of history thrown in.
Reservations Required

20th Annual Mud Mania! A Celebration of Adobe

Sunday, August 16
12:30 – 4:30 PM
At the Rancho’s most popular event, kids of all ages are invited to explore the significance of mud in a festive atmosphere filled great music, and many muddy activities.

22nd Annual Old Time Christmas Festival

Sunday, December 6
1:00 – 4:00 PM
This family festival features music, storytellers, crafts and activities, and even a visit from Santa, amidst the lavishly decorated 171 year old adobe home.

25th Annual A Rancho Christmas

Friday & Saturday, December 11 & 12
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Discover the traditions and celebrations of a Victorian-era Christmas as costumed living history docents share insights into their lives.
Reservations Required


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