Statement | Highlights
Library | Archives
mission of Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is to restore and preserve
the structure and grounds; collect appropriate resources; and interpret
the relationship of the Rancho's diverse peoples, from Native American
times through the 1940s, to the development of the Long Beach area.
This will be accomplished through a broad spectrum of educational
programs, exhibits and publications designed to provide local residents,
students and other visitors with an understanding of the forces
that shaped this region.
To support the Mission Statement, the following objectives have
to conduct, encourage, produce and share scholarly research on
the history of Rancho Los Cerritos
to advocate, preserve and manage the site's historical, architectural,
botanical and archaeological resources
to collect, preserve and manage appropriate and authentic artifacts
to develop innovative and effective interpretive programs on Rancho
Los Cerritos history
to supplement the teaching of local and Southern California history
in the classroom
to encourage local history instruction in the schools and colleges
to expand resources and increase accessibility of the archives,
research files and research library
of Rancho collections
The adobe ranch house, built in 1844, is the most important "artifact"
at Rancho Los Cerritos, and the museum collections are aimed toward
researching and sharing information about the house. For this reason,
the most important collections include objects and archival materials
that are directly associated with the Rancho and its owners, occupants
and workers from prehistoric times through 1955.
The museum also collects artifacts,
primary documents and photographs needed for research, exhibition
and educational purposes in keeping with the mission statement.
These items may be originals or items representative of those once
found at the Rancho.
Furnishings in the exhibit rooms depict the work and leisure of
both the owners and workers on a 19th century ranch. Handcrafted
and mass produced objects demonstrate the changes occurring in America's
Victorian years, as well as the transition from a rural landscape
to populated cities. Using various Bixby family reminiscences, many
of the rooms are furnished with furniture, glass, ceramics, metals
and tools from the 1870s.
The museum's collections include more than 1,000 items of clothing
and textiles from the 1830s-1930s. There are also over 1,100 historic
photographic views of the rancho and its occupants, and various
maps, letters, deeds and other documents relating to the site.
Highlights from the collections
the 1866 deed, signed by John Temple, transferring ownership of
Rancho Los Cerritos to Flint, Bixby & Co.
a pair of oil portraits of John and Rafaela Cota de Temple, painted
in 1856 by pioneer California portrait artist William S. Jewett
John Temple's branding iron
an 1870s velocipede (child's horse tricycle)
a bookcase built ca. 1871 in the Rancho's blacksmith shop
a Howe treadle sewing machine of 1872
1882 California-style stock saddle
oil portraits by Sarah Bixby Smith and Fanny Bixby Spencer
hair wreaths and shell pictures representing popular 19th century
Rancho Los Cerritos is designated as site number "LAn 696," which
refers to its registry in Los Angeles County as part of a statewide
archaeological survey. The grounds under and surrounding the adobe
are rich in archaeological materials. The site includes
known trash pits from the 1840s-50s and from the 1870s-80s. The cache
of "cogged stones" discovered in 1930 suggests that people have
called this site home for at least 5,000 to 7,000 years.
California History Research Library contains more than 3,000 books
on California history, both rare volumes and current publications,
and also books on decorative arts and museum studies. It is a non-circulating
reference center and is cataloged through the Long Beach Public
Library. The research library is available by appointment with the historical curator, Sarah Wolk FitzGerald at:
Archives and Research Files
Archives contains original documents, maps, blueprints, photographs
and sound and image recordings directly associated with the Rancho
and its owners, occupants and workers. Highlights include the Sarah
Bixby Smith Manuscript Collection, Llewellyn Bixby, Jr. Manuscript
collection, a series of 1872 stereograph cards of Rancho Los Cerritos
by William Godfrey of Los Angeles, photographs of the site from
1872 through the 1940s, and architectural blueprints of the adobe
during the 1930 remodel.
Research Files consist of documents, articles, research notes and
photographs collected to support research and further the mission
of the museum. Access to these collections is by appointment only.