Research & Collections
El Pueblo’s permanent collection is a unique repository of artifacts that trace the city’s heritage from the pre-European era through the mid 20th century, covering numerous facets of local history and culture. The artifact collection contains more than 15,000 objects of material culture including fine art, antique china, household items, period furniture, textiles, tools and firefighting memorabilia. El Pueblo also houses the collections of the Chinese American Museum and the Italian Hall Museum.
El Pueblo’s research and archival collection comprising of more than 12,000 photographs, historic documents, books, records, maps and architectural drawings offer invaluable information relating to the history of the early Pueblo. Additionally, El Pueblo’s large textile collection features clothing, antique linens and accessories dating from the mid 19th century.
Excavations in the El Pueblo area since 1972 have unearthed a large volume of archeological materials from the regions’ Native American period (pre-1781), the Spanish Colonial era (1781-1821), the Mexican period (1821-1848) and the first century of the American rule (1850’s-1940’s). These artifacts include household goods, tools, bottles, ceramics and animal bones.
El Pueblo Monument has over ten thousand photographs in its collection, divided into three hundred separate categories. About 80% of the collection are 8”x10” black and white prints, of which 50% are copies that were obtained from other historical repositories, such as the Seaver Center for Western History Research, The Huntington Library, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, and UCLA and USC Special Collections. Most of these photographs concern the early history of Los Angeles, which was centered at the Plaza, beginning with the earliest known photographs of the city in the early 1860s. The majority of the photographs owned by El Pueblo Monument concern the history of Olvera Street, the Mexican marketplace that was founded in 1930, and its traditional-yearly events, such as the Blessing of the Animals, Cinco de Mayo, Las Posadas, and Mexican Independence Day. The collection also contains photographs of various communities who were located at the Plaza during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Researchers may view the collection by appointment only, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. Monument policy requires that individuals or groups who purchase photographs must obtain use permission from the legal owner of the photograph and properly credit the owner in any publication or public display that features the photograph. For further information and appointments call 213-485-8435.