Norton Simon Museum

Unconventional building housing a noted collection of European & Asian art plus a sculpture garden. The history of the Norton Simon Museum begins with the Pasadena Art Institute. The Institute was founded in 1922 and incorporated two years later on August 14, 1924 as a privately endowed, nonprofit institution. Originally comprised of local citizens, the primary goals of the Institution were to establish and maintain a museum and library of art as well as encourage the study of fine arts. After incorporation, the Institute secured 9.5 acres of land and a 22-room Victorian house (the Reed mansion) in Carmelita Park at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevard in Pasadena. Initially, the Institute exhibited 19th century American and European art and hosted annual shows of California artists and works from other cultures. While the Pasadena Art Institute hoped to provide a future site for a new building, it focused on the important business of saving Carmelita as a public park. Throughout the Great Depression, the staff and trustees managed to pay for the upkeep of the property by selling grandstand seats for Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Norton Simon died on June 2, 1993. As a tribute to her husband, Jennifer Jones Simon oversaw the major renovation of the interior galleries from 1996-1999 by the noted architect Frank O. Gehry. The sculpture garden was remodeled by Nancy Goslee Power, and the renovation completed in 2000 when the Museum’s Theater was remodeled by Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates.

In 1999, the Museum Board significantly increased Museum hours and added events that directly related to the institution’s holdings. In a marriage between past and present, the Museum collaborated with other local institutions to mount an exhibition entitled Radical Past: Contemporary Art & Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974.

The Norton Simon Museum continues to hold true to its namesake’s vision while organizing exhibits that demonstrate the richness and history of the collections. We invite you to visit and enjoy the treasures that have inspired many throughout the centuries.




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  • Saturday12:00 - 19:00
  • Sunday12:00 - 17:00
  • Monday12:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday12:00 - 17:00
  • Friday12:00 - 17:00
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