Otis College history at the Natural History Museum

When Otis Art Institute was established in 1918 on land left to the city of Los Angeles by Harrison Gray Otis, the fledgling school operated under the jurisdiction of the County Board of Supervisors and the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art. Administration of the school was therefore in the hands of the Museum’s Director and Board of Governors, although the school’s director was responsible for its overall functioning.

Because of this relationship, many of the early records of the school are contained in the archives at what is now the Natural History Museum. Wanting to gain a clearer understanding of Otis College history, I took the Expo Metro line out to Exhibition Park this July for a scheduled visit to the museum’s library and archives and had great fun combing through the Board of Governors meeting minutes, correspondence files kept by the directors through the years, and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and gallery exhibition brochures.

During the next few months I hope to share the fun and post more about what I learned at the NHM archives here on the Millard Sheets Library blog.

Photograph of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum building taken in 2006 by KolbyCC BY 2.0