Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society, Newport Beach

#20 of 39 in Museums in Orange County
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Balboa Island, with all its allure and charm, has been a favorite California location for locals and vacationers alike. Now residents and visitors can discover all sorts of interesting and fascinating facts about this magical Island by visiting the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society. Visitors will be fascinated by the display of Island memorabilia, including classic photographs that depict the Island’s captivating history.

The Museum was founded in 2000 after local Pat Buderwitz had the idea of turning the old Fire Station into an Island Museum. Pat and a group of Island neighbors started meeting regularly and formed an organization, the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society (BIMHS). On May 13, 2000, a reception was held at the Newport Beach Yacht Club to introduce the BIMHS to the Island residents. When the fire station option fell through, the BIMHS decided to rent a space until a more permanent location could be found. They moved into their first location across from the ferry during March of 2002.

In the spring of 2011, the Board of Directors made the decision to relocate the Museum to 331 Marine Avenue, becoming part of Balboa Island’s “Main Street.” This charming vintage cottage is the perfect site to showcase the Museum’s artifacts and it is the hope and desire of the committee that this location will also provide a meeting place for the local community. (Coincidentally, the new location is very close to the old Fire Station, their original chosen spot!)

Locals and visitors are welcome to check out the new location and learn a little bit of Balboa Island’s enchanting history.
Take a look at our Newport Beach trip website to schedule your visit to Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
19 reviews
  • Nice little museum within walking distance from the Ferry. The history was displayed really nice throughout the space. There are many great items for purchase as well. There are many other quaint...  more »
  • Balboa Island is a tiny place that I wish woudl remain a hidden gem. However people have heard of it and they come visit and I think if you do you should understand the really intersesting, and...  more »
  • Donations-suggested historical museum of early Balboa history and it's fascinating culture. Step away from the harbor for awhile and get inside to learn something you may not have about Balboa. Hands on exhibits encourage families to linger longer. We enjoyed putting a 500-piece puzzle of Balboa Island together! Friendly docents available to answer your questions make this a fabulous find.
  • really nice place to stop and spend time reading about the different aspects of history of Balboa and the surrounding area. This isn't just some rich beach resort, it has a rich history from its early days purchased as marshland through the golden era of movies when many stars called this area home

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