North Palm Canyon

Special Exhibit Then and Now

Architect E. Stewart Willams

At the close of his life, Modernist Architect E. Stewart Williams contributed reference photographs for five commercial blocks in downtown Palm Springs. These photos were taken at the launching of his career in 1946.

Then and Now is an exhibit in print and DVD of photographs at twenty-one locations from 500 North Palm Canyon Drive to 200 South Palm Canyon Drive. Williams DVD display runs continuously on the large HD monitor during open hours at the McCallum Adobe.

Seen here is a picture of 282-290 North Palm Canyon Drive in 1946 and 2009. In 1946 Pueblo styling of the Desert Camera building and its upper deck are gone, replaced by an unembellished facade. The liveliness of the scene in front of the Malt Shop and the informality of the bicyclist are not in evidence in 2009.

Digitizing Photograph Collection

History at your fingertips

During her years as PSHS Director, Sally McManus identified catalog data for 10,733 photographs, and volunteer Dorothy Nelson keyed that data into 51 Apple computer files. With that huge head start, it took only from November 2008 and all through the summer of 2009 to move all of the data. The society has chosen PastPerfect, software approved by the American Association of State and Local History for museums and historical societies, as its collections management platform.

Oral History Project

Voices from Our Past

The oral history project created by board member, Cydronia Valdez, completed audiovisual interviews with Jane Hoff, Moya Henderson and Letha Cote this summer. Voices from Our Past highlights the memories of members of our board, members of the historical society and our volunteers. Soon we will move further into the community. We are excited about continuing the collection of memories from many different aspects of life in Palm Springs.

Moya's Book

Images of America: Palm Springs by Moya Henderson

Book Images of America: Palm Springs

This summer it was our privilege and honor to work with Moya Henderson on her pictorial history book of Palm Springs entitled Images of America - Palm Springs. She selected many pictures of Palm Springs and told the ultimate story of how the city began, how it grew and some of the people and activities it attracted.

In February Moya will be participating in a whirlwind of book signing engagements, and she graciously has donated any profits from the sale of the book to benefit the Historical Society. We will have copies of her new book to sell at the McCallum Adobe after its release date, February 9, 2009. First book signing will be at The McCallum Adobe Saturday, Feb 28 at 1:00pm.

Copies may be reserved by:
calling 760.323.8297

'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
“Our Mission is to record, preserve and display historical artifacts of the Palm Springs area.” Palm Springs Historical Society

Past Events

Picnic Under the Palms

— Sunday, November 16, 2014

Picnic Under the Palms

Celebrating 60 years

The Palm Springs Historical Society celebrates its 60th year!. Join us at the historic and exclusive landmark, O'Donnell Golf Club, in downtown Palm Springs.

The first picnic was held in November 1955, it was called the "Founders Day Picnic" and it has been an annual event ever since.

Plenty of tempting food and atmosphere will be on hand for this very special celebration. Plus a no host bar will be available. Space is limited, reservations required.

Open to the public, Palm Springs residents and visitors are invited. Experience the beautiful setting at this private club and enjoy the celebration under the palms.

RSVP: Call 760-323-8297

Cost: $40.00 for Members
$50.00 for Non-members
Time: 12:00 noon
Location: O'Donnell Golf Club
301 North Belardo Road, Palm Springs

Mamie Van Doren Exhibit and Cocktail Party

— Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mamie Van Doren Cocktail Party in Palm Springs

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

Fashion Show - The Bad & The Beautiful

The Palm Springs Historical Society presents a fashion show featuring the Helen Rose/Marilyn Visel Collection Donated by Barbara Marx, a rare and unique look into the world of film costume design of the Golden Age of Hollywood of the late 1920s through the early 1960s.

Consisting mainly of the Academy Award winning designs of MGM's Helen Rose for leading ladies including Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, Liz Taylor, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Ester Williams, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly. It also contains gowns by Adrian, Edith Head, Travis Banton and Jean Louis.

The costumes were created for films such as The Bad and the Beautiful, My Fair Lady, Gilda, and Cat on a Hot TinRoof. A very special treat: Piano accomaniment provided by Bill Marx!

— Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Film Costumes of the Silver Screen Fashion Show.

When: Wednesday, February 20 at ll:00 am
Food: Champagne & hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Tickets $100 each.
Purchase at »
Location: 332 West Alejo Rd. Palm Springs
Location site: »
Google maps: Map to event »

Thank you to our sponsors: Sherman's Deli and Salon 119 Spa, hair by celebrity stylist, Scot Ferreira.

Fashion Show - PSHS members private preview

— Saturday, January 19, 2013

Members invitation only preview of The Bad and The Beautiful: Film Costumes of the Silver Screen Fashion Show. Held at the Palm Springs Woman's Club at 11:00AM.

When: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 11:00 am
Where: Palm Springs Women's Club
Location: 314 South Cahuilla Rd. Palm Springs
Location site: »
Google maps: Map to event »

Thank you to our sponsors:
LULU California Bistro and Salon 119 Spa, hair by celebrity stylist, Scot Ferreira.

download invitation »

2013 Modernism Week PSHS Walking Tours

February, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Tickets $15 each. 9:30am
Purchase tickets at

— "From Swiss Miss to Space Age"

Celebrity homes of Vista Las Palmas (exterior only).

— "Banking and Fashion Go Mod"

Covers the area south of Baristo Road bordered by Indian Canyon Drive and S. Palm Canyon Drive and examines the history of the development and design of the area, including banks designed by E. Stewart Williams and Gruen & Associates.

Historical Yard Sale

— Saturday, December 15, 8:00am - 5:00pm

FOR SALE: Vintage magazines, antiques, books, postcards, and much, much more! Come find a treasure at the McCallum Adobe.

Yard Sale Location »

Walk of the Inns

— Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 4:00pm - 8:00pm

A self-guided walking tour of Palm Springs’ unique collection of boutique hotels and historic inns. The city’s historic and mid-century modern gems are opening their doors for public tours as part of its annual ‘Walk of the Inns.” From 100-year old adobe inns to 1920s jewels to Mediterranean inspired villas, the “Walk of the Inns” is not to be missed.

View Walking Tour map »
Learn more about the Palm Springs Walk of Inns »

Sunday, Nov 11, 2012 - 12 noon

Pioneer Picnic

Nestled downtown in the midst of magnificent views, the O'Donnell Golf Club will once again be the setting for our annual Pioneer Picnic. Built in 1925 by Thomas O'Donnell, this historic setting will welcome members and guests of the Palm Springs Historical Society to an afternoon of great food and fun. We will be celebrating the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway's 50th Anniversary coming in 2013! Please join us! RSVP by Nov 7. Call 760.323.8297.

Directions to O'Donnell and check out the club »

Learn more about the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway »

Scholarship Winners

The 2012 Melba Bennett Memorial Scholarships were awarded to Veronica Munoz and Brisa Villarreal both students at Cathedral City High School. Veronica Munoz will be attending UC Santa Barbara majoring in History and Brisa Villarreal will pursue her passion for the Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Blue in Los Angeles. We thank Melba Berry Bennett's children, Deedee Busch and Peter Bennett for funding the scholarships each year.