Immerse Yourself In History

The Palm Springs Historical Society is a rich source for the study of Palm Springs history. The Museum's collection of artifacts provides a wealth of information perfect for research and intrigue.


Palm Springs Historical Walking Tours

"The Official, The Original" Take a remarkable trip through Palm Springs past with the Palm Springs Historical Society - stories, intrigue and fun!

Reservations required - Reserve your place now call 760.323.8297
Interested in private or group tours? Call to arrange.

Tours cost: $18.00 per person

  • frank sinatra palm springs movie colony

    Special Tours

    Modernism Week Fall Season Kick-Off

    Our special modernism tours are so popular they have already sold out for this kick-off event. Modernism Week will run Feb 12-22 2015, tickets go on sale Nov 1, 2014 at modernismweek.com

    October 10-13, 2014

    SOLD OUT

  • Tour 1

    The Heart of the City

    An overview of the history of Palm Canyon Drive focusing on La Plaza area.

    Approximately 1 hour.

    - Wednesday - 9:30 am
    - Thursday - 4:00 pm
    - Friday - 9:30 am

    Tour 1 departs from the McCallum Adobe - 221 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

  • Tour 2

    Golden Era - Hollywood Homes in Old Las Palmas

    Walk among the stars in this prestigious and historic neighborhood which has one of the highest concentrations of celebrity homes (Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Lucille Ball, Gene Autry, and many others).

    Approximately 2.5 hours.

    - Wednesday - 9:30 am

    Departure details received upon reservations.

  • Tour 3

    Inns, Architecture and Glamour

    See some of the most beautiful historic inns in Palm Springs with this VIP tour. See where the rich and famous played and stayed: then and now!

    Approximately 2 hours.

    - Thursday - 9:30 am

    Tour 3 departs from the McCallum Adobe - 221 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

  • Tour 4

    The Exclusive Tennis Club Enclave

    Savor a taste of Palm Springs history and get to know the movers and shakers who shaped the city's growth and development.

    Approximately 1.5 hours.

    - Thursday - 9:30 am

    Departure details received upon reservations.

  • Tour 5

    Rat Pack Playground - Modernist Homes in Vista Las Palmas

    In this mid-century tract development, quintessential Modernist homes were created through mass production. See homes in this trendy neighborhood where many celebrities lived and frolicked (Debbie Reynolds, Elvis Presley, Kim Novak, Dean Martin and many others).

    Approximately 2 hours.

    - Tuesday - 9:30 am

    Departure details received upon reservations.

  • Tour 6

    Stars and Star-chitects in Deepwell

    Stroll through this pristine mid-century neighborhood with elegant Modernist homes, some designed by the desert's most renowned architects. View homes of some of Hollywood's biggest names (Loretta Young, William Holden, Liberace, Jerry Lewis, and others). Learn fascinating secrets of the stars.

    Approximately 2 hours.

    - Monday - 9:30 am
    - Saturday - 1:00 pm

    Departure details received upon reservations.

  • Tour 7

    Frank Sinatra's Neighborhood: The Movie Colony

    Get an inside look at how Modernism took center stage in this historic Palm Springs neighborhood.

    Approximately 2 hours.

    - Friday - 9:30 am

    Departure details received upon reservations.

Join the Palm Springs Historical Society on a remarkable trip through Palm Spring's past with a professional docent guide. This is a walking tour so please be prepared, bring a hat, water, sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes. Water may be purchased at the McCallum Adobe and restrooms are available at our facility.

Tour includes:
- Historical Palm Springs highlights - learn the history from people involved in its preservation.
- Mid-Century and Spanish Architecture.
- Fantastic Palm Springs stories - hear the glamorous tales of days gone by.

Parking:
- Most parking in Palm Springs is free but some streets have a 2 hour limit. Please select an area without a time limitation in case your tour runs over.

Discover the unique diversity of Palm Springs

visit

Plan A Visit
An Oasis in the Desert

Comprised of two 19th century pioneer homes we are located on The Village Green in a lovely park-like setting amid the hotels, shops and restaurants of legendary Palm Canyon Drive.

collection

View the Collection
Take history home

Explore through thousands of vintage photos and choose a unique selection for your personal or business use. Learn more about our rights and reproductions licensing.

support

Lend Your Support
We can't do it without you

Join and support our efforts to preserve the heritage of Palm Springs. Discover member benefits like exclusive invitations, special discounts and free admission.


The Chi Chi

The famed watering hole where some of the brightest names in showbiz gathered for more than 25 years. The lineup included talent like Cab Callaway, Ella Fitzgerald, Sophie Tucker, Louis Armstrong, and Wayne Newton. Vocal groups ranged from the Ink Spots to the Andrew Sisters. Featured comics were Jack Benny, Milton Berle and Red Buttons.

On display is the drum set of Bill Alexander musical director and master of ceremonies for the Starlite Room. Along with authentic night club memorabilia, including plates, glasses, napkins, ashtrays, playing cards, a Chi Chi lighter, swizzle sticks and menus dating back to 1938.

Come hear the recordings of the actual live performances of Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Lena Horne as they performed at the Chi Chi.

Check out our current exhibitions »

Books, DVD's, Calendars, Jackets and much more...

Purchase one of a kind items not found in stores. Great unique gifts.

View all the items »

Palm Springs First Hundred Years BookPalm Springs Legends Book Palm Springs Modern Book

Peter Wild Books are here!

Fashion Show
Wild examines 11 novels set in Palm Springs, loaded with local history. $45.00 (soft cover)

Extremely limited edition only available at PSHS.

Professor Peter Wild wrote several exhaustively researched books on the history of Palm Springs. He spend countless hours at our historical society and traveled the world to gather material for his work, leaving no stone unturned.


Lois Kellogg
Palm Springs pioneer Lois Kellogg is the subject of a biography containing numerous photos that untangles the mysteries of her bohemian lifestyle. $132.50 (hard cover)

At his untimely passing in February 2009, Wild and his book designer Nancy Solomon had completed three new volumes, which were in his computer, ready to be printed. Now, a collaboration among the PSHS, Nancy Solomon, the Peter Wild Estate, Sharonne Myerson, and Arizona Lithographers has resulted in the publishing of two of those volumes, and we are privileged to announce they are here for sale at the McCallum Adobe.

Call 760.323.8297 to purchase your copies. Don't dely, the edition is extremely limited, and we are the only place they they will be offered. PSHS members receive 10% discount.


Learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

According to anthropologists, Native Americans have lived beside the sparkling waters of Palm Springs' tree lined canyons and around its bubbling hot springs for over a thousand years. They survived by using a multitude of desert plants for food, clothing and medicine.

logo Agua Caliente

Visit the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum » in the building next to us, who preserve and revive aspects of traditional culture through exhibitions, lectures, films, tours, workshops and educational outreach programs.

See how the historic Palm Springs-based tribe as a Sovereign Tribal Government strive to maintain their cultural heritage and past within the community today at www.aguacaliente.org

“Once the healthful virtues of Agua Caliente - the hot springs were discovered, they would provide the central setting of a famous international playground called Palm Springs.”Greg Niemann

UPCOMING EVENTS

Mamie Van Doren Cocktail Party in Palm Springs

Mamie Van Doren Exhibit and Cocktail Party

— Saturday, October 25, 2014

Help us celebrate the opening of our brand new exhibit honoring Mamie Van Doren. On Saturday, October 25, the Mamie Van Doren exhibit will open inside the McCallum Adobe Museum. At 1:30pm Mamie is scheduled to make a brief stop outside the museum to wave to fans. Admission to the museum is free.

Cocktail Party 5:30 - 7:30 pm - Andreas Hotel & Spa

In the evening join us for a fundraiser cocktail party at the historic Andreas Hotel and Spa, honoring the actress.

Miss Van Doren will make a scheduled personal appearance. Janie Hughes will serve as hostess for the event and local television personality Patrick Evans will provide entertainment.

Mamie Van Doren scheduled appearance in Palm Springs

Enjoy hors d'oeuvres provided by LuLu California Bistro, cake by Manhattan in the Desert, plus a no host bar, and raffle.

Reservations are required for the cocktail party.
Cocktail or Hollywood Vintage attire please.
Cost $65 non-member or $55 for PSHS Members.
227 North Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Andreas Hotel and SpaLuLu

 


Did You Know?

— FUN FACT

Loretta Young

One of Hollywood's most glamorous movie stars Loretta Young, who lived in Deepwell during the final decade of her life, was a regular volunteer at our local hospital, Desert Regional Medical Center. Find out more fun facts when you go on one of our historical walking tours.


'Forever Marilyn' On The Road

— Palm Springs to New Jersey

On Monday, April 1, 2014 the 26 foot tall, 34,000 pound sculpture was disassembled. Tuesday morning the crane loaded the four pieces plus base onto two flat bed trucks headed to Hamilton, New Jersey.

The Seward Johnson statue will take a 7 day trip across country making at least 10 city stops along the way for "I Saw Marilyn!" photo ops. She heads to the Grounds for Sculpture, in Hamilton, N.J. for a May 4 - September 21 retrospective on the life and work of Johnson, who will be 84 this year.

marilyn monroe on crane
marilyn monroe skirt
marilyn monroe legs
forever marilyn statue on truck
i saw marilyn enroute
forever marilyn statue leaves palm springs

Yarn Bombers Get Marilyn Forever

— April 2013

Yarn Bombing - Have you heard of it?

The Desert Yarn Bombers affixed their elaborate knits to give "Marilyn Forever" leg warmers in the middle of the night.

Careful not to harm the sculpture, this whimsical gesture was only seen by a few night owls before the 26 foot tall, 34,000 pound sculpture by Seward Johnson was restored to her glory.

The fine art of yarn bombing - this graffiti or street art employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn installations throughout the world. From the Wall Street Bull in New York to a double decker bus in London, this guerilla knitting has now made a visit to Palm Springs.

Yarn Bombing Marilyn Monroe sculpture in Palm Srpings, CA Leg Warmers on Forever Marilyn Palm Springs

Welwood Murray Memorial Library

— Good News!

In November the Palm Springs City Council and the Historical Preservation Site Preservation Board voted unanimously to approve the Welwood Murray Memorial Library as the new home of the Palm Springs Historical Society's archives and offices as well as a downtown visitor's center and Palm Springs Library annex. Stay tuned for more information.

New Season, New Look, New Exhibits

Check out the new season exhibits for 2012/2013 and come see the updated exhibits in the Cornelia White House.

Current Newsletter

Whispering Palms Winter 2012-2013

Did You Know?

On November 18, 1946 the Village of Palm Springs institued a program "Sun Time" that had merchants, banks, and the majority of Villagers set clocks ahead one hour to maximize our sunshine!


Research Center

History Resources

We offer a number of resources to assist your exploration. Our knowledgeable staff can provide context and interpretation for over 56 categories.

The research center holds a rich body of architecture and building history resources. Delve into the mid-century modern architecture known as “Palm Springs Modernism”.

Or explore family history, biographies, manuscripts, books, periodicals, photographs and much more.
Come in to the McCallum Adobe to check out our resources »

Our entire photo archives digitized!

Over 10,000 photo images now easy to view at our Research Center.

Each photograph in our extensive library collection is now archived in digitial format for easy viewing and access at the McCallum Adobe Research Center. These invaluable research items are now preserved in a high-quality digital format easily accessible to the public.