Catalina Island Museum offers a great place to explore for first time visitors

Catalina Island history

With more than 20 million people living within a relatively short drive and an hour boat ride from Catalina Island, it’s a surprise that so many have never visited this island paradise. Many visitors are discovering Catalina Island for the first time – welcome to our series about what not to miss when you discover paradise for the first time.

While Catalina Island has long been a favorite destination for thousands of Southern California residents, it is also unexplored territory for many on the mainland. For those of us who’ve been in love with the island for decades, it’s a surprise to hear “Catalina Island? I’ve never been,” but it’s never too late to experience Catalina for the first time.

First time visitors are often surprised to learn of Catalina Island’s vast and varied history. Inhabited for at least 8,000 years, the island was home to generations of native islanders. It has also been a hotspot for cattle ranchers, a refuge for smugglers, home to Civil War soldiers, the birthplace of the CIA and a favorite getaway for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

First time visitors – as well as Catalina vacation veterans — will soon have an all new way to explore the island’s fascinating history. Next month one of the most ambitious construction projects in Catalina history will come to completion and the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Catalina Island Museum will open to the public. With plenty of space for permanent as well as visiting exhibits the new museum facility will be a suitable showcase for Catalina Island history and culture. The Catalina Island Museum’s grand opening will be celebrated with a series of events beginning June 18.