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Berkeley History Center

Veterans Memorial Building, 1931 Center Street, Berkeley, California 94704, United States

The Berkeley History Center is an archive, library and museum located in the 1931 Memorial Building, near the Old Town Hall. It has volunteers in its entirety. The exhibits, walking tours, seminars and other activities are presented and oral stories are told. Through exhibitions, lectures, walks and publications, appreciation of the city's uniqueness and the diversity of cultures that make up Berkeley 's rich mosaic has been fostered and recognized.

The History center was founded in 1978 by the Berkeley Historical Center which is a non-profit organization based in Berkeley , California  with the goal of researching, preserving, and sharing urban history.

By Basil D Soufi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

At the beginning, there was no permanent home and meetings were held wherever they could be, but the Society sponsored historical programs, wrote a newspaper series and published books. It finally relocated in August 1992 to the present location in 1931 Center Lane, after several years of living in school bungalows.

The Berkeley Historical Society has now been able to maintain the Berkeley History Center with a library, an exhibition space and an archive in which to house and maintain a vast collection of photographs, materials and memorabilia relating to Berkeley.

The History Center is staffed by volunteers (hours open to public) who discover and collect documentary materials and preserve and conserve the collections for future generations. The staff also organize the collections so they are accessible to the public and provide reference and referral services. 

Moreover, the volunteers assist visitors with research and organize exhibits, walking tours, lectures, concerts, workshops and social events.They also conduct and publish oral history interviews and produce and show films and videos. In addition, they write a quarterly newsletter and publish books, pamphlets, and postcards. They even produce and maintain their official website and write  Berkeley Voice newspaper column which are news from 75 years ago.

The Historical Society had published several impeccable works including Victorian Berkeley: The Community of Ocean View (1981) , A Teacher's Guide to Primary Resources on Berkeley History (1983) , Exactly Opposite the Golden Gate: Essays on Berkeley's History, 1845–1945 (1983) , Tales from the Elmwood: A Community Memory (2000) , Quick Index to the Origin of Berkeley's Names: Streets, Creeks, Paths, Walks, Parks (2004) , Berkeley Bohemia, 1890–1925 (2005) , Tempered by Fire: History of the Berkeley Fire Department (2005) and Fermenting Berkeley: A Spirited History (2006).

This amazing place is just one of the many must-see sights you surely  don’t want to miss in Berkeley, California:

  • Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 
  • Berkeley Free Clinic
  • Berkeley High School
  • Berkeley Marina 
  • Berkeley Public Library 
  • Berkeley Repertory Theatre 
  • Berkeley Rose Garden 
  • Hearst Greek Theatre

All of these wonderful sites are located just a short distance from our location at 1647 Hopkins St, in Berkeley! Stop by for a visit anytime!