I think it's obvious by now that there's genealogically relevant information at the museum. So let's take a few days to explore finding aids. Of course, there are online catalogs, research guides, and other helps found on the museum website itself. But where else might you find information about family history related museum collections?
Let's first explore my favorite catalog, ArchiveGrid. ArchiveGrid describes itself as
ArchiveGrid includes over 5 million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.
So ArchiveGrid is a collaborative catalog that includes "primary source materials" (AKA original source materials for genealogists). Because archival collections don't always end up in the location you think they should, a search on ArchiveGrid can mean the difference between finding and not finding the research collections you need.
ArchiveGrid includes collections from repositories worldwide but not all repositories. And those collaborative partners change over time and more materials are added to the catalog. So it's not a one-time search. Remember to not just focus on a surname when searching on ArchiveGrid. Search on a location (and variations of that location such as town; town and county; state etc), as well as an occupation, a religion, etc.
A few examples of California museums represented on ArchiveGrid (but not all) are:
- African American Museum and Library at Oakland
- Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
- American Bookbinders Museum
- Museum of the American West
- California Museum of Photography
- California Railroad Museum
- Charles M Schulz Museum and Research Center
- Computer History Museum
- Japanese American National Museum
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Los Angeles Maritime Museum
- Pasadena Historical Museum
- San Diego Air and Space Museum
- San Joaquin County Museum
ArchiveGrid is definitely worth a search and should be a part of your regular research plan. Tomorrow, let's explore another finding aid for finding genealogically relevant museum collections.