Mission and Focus
The mission of Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is to restore and preserve the ranch house structure and grounds; collect appropriate resources; and interpret the relationship of the Rancho’s diverse peoples, from the period before Spanish settlement when Native Americans controlled the land, through the development of the Long Beach area, to the present day. This is 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.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Policy*
Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation works to preserve the historic site and to honor and illuminate the region’s cultural heritage through innovative opportunities that expand access to all communities. This statement is intended to describe our core DEIA values that we will uphold and model as we advance our mission.
As an organization, we are dedicated to:
- Welcoming all visitors so that they will gain an appreciation of our community’s shared history
- Prioritizing free/low-cost access to students so they will begin to develop curiosity about the past
- Preserving the site as an inclusive community space so that every guest will see themselves as part of the Rancho’s story
- Fostering an environment of preservation, innovation, and education, so that we enrich historical understanding, value diversity, and promote environmental stewardship
Rancho Los Cerritos is therefore committing to:
- Expanding cultural competency throughout our organization in order to create substantive learning opportunities for all visitors.
- Defining and implementing supportive policies to develop organizational leadership that reflects the diversity of Southern California.
- Creating and maintaining collaborative partnerships with other organizations and community partners who are committed to diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups.
- Measuring the social impact of our efforts to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access by generating and incorporating quantitative and qualitative data to improve our work.
To provide informed, authentic leadership Rancho Los Cerritos strives to:
- Value and promote diversity in the recruitment of board, staff, and volunteers to ensure that our organization reflects the broader community.
- Identify, acknowledge and address inequities in the Rancho’s history and in the Foundation’s policies, programs and stories we tell by forming a standing committee that regularly monitors and reports progress to our constituents.
- Advocate for and support institutional understanding of how embracing DEIA practices will positively impact our organization’s work.
- Be intentional about data collection to better understand the needs of the communities we serve.
* In 2019 Rancho Los Cerritos (RLC) was awarded a grant by the California Arts Council to undergo a DEIA training that would result in a DEIA public statement and a plan for moving the site’s DEIA work forward. In the 1st Quarter of 2020, both the RLC board and staff went through a series of three DEIA planning sessions – board only session, staff only session and board/staff session. These sessions were facilitated by Griselda Suarez from the Arts Council of Long Beach and she is well versed and highly trained in DEIA work. From the series of sessions, the DEIA statement vision holders group was created, and through another series of 9/15/2020 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA) facilitated trainings with Ms. Suarez, the group created this DEIA statement and plan. The group continues to meet to refine the DEIA plan and as the statement vision holders they will make sure that RLC continues this work.
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, our 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 photographs of the rancho and its occupants, as well as various maps, letters, deeds and other documents relating to the site. The collections also includes archaeological artifacts discovered onsite.
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.