Library and Museum Collection

The Collection

The overall collection has thousands of photographs, historical ephemera, books on early California and local history, journals, maps, newspapers, clothing and other materials.  Long Term Displays, and Rotating Displays that are changed regularly.

Read More

The collection includes an extensive collection of early farm papers and documents, as well as letters of the early 1900s.  These are a great primary resource for the research minded visitor.

Photographs of interest as well as historic and original maps are available.

Picture #1:  Bill Doctorman Collection

Long-term exhibits include “The Bill Doctorman Historic Telephone Collection”,  You can see how the old phones worked and “touch” history.  The collection presents telephones from the late 1880s through the 1990s including box, candlestick, and cradle phones.  You will find a real Princess phone, early pay phones, and an interesting collection of European phones.  The display includes early manually operated ('operator') telephone switchboards, and early automated telephone switching equipment.

Picture #2:  Juan Camarillo Collection

We have a special collection of items collected by Juan Camarillo (1867-1936, and younger brother of Adolfo Camarillo) as he traveled the world in the early 1900s.  Our thanks for the permanent loan by Fr. Tom Elewaut of Mission San Buenaventura and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as our museum is now displaying mementos of Juan E. Camarillo’s life.

Providing the land, securing the architect, A. C. Martin,  and the costs, Juan was responsible for the Chapel on the Hill, St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, completed in 1914.  The east wing was designed as a museum to house his collection of Chumash baskets and mementos of his life and travels.  He left the Chapel to the Franciscan Brothers who held it until 1940 when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had need of the building for a Church in Camarillo.

In 1976, Juan’s artifacts in the Chapel’s east wing were moved to Mission San Buenaventura.  Using these artifacts, now loaned to PVHS and additional items from the PVHS Museum, we hope to shed a light on the generous and loving spirit of Juan Camarillo.  His Chumash baskets and some religious items remain with the Mission.

Picture #3:  Roland Gisler Collection

The Roland Gisler pumper fire trucks are all hand-made and not kits. The artist, Roland Gisler (1898-1976), was born in New Jerusalem, CA (presently El Rio).  He created the fire engines out of wood and paper mache.  He used a metal lathe to create the miniature metal parts.  Roland greatly admired firemen—they had saved his house in the infamous 1961 Bel Aire fire.

Picture #4:  Cawelti Family Display

Johannes “John” Cawelti purchased 1,003 Acres in the area of Lewis Road in 1889.  John’s daughter-in-law, Minnie Bell Cawelti, is credited with shooting the bald eagle on taxidermy display as it was stealing her chickens in 1905.  The display includes the shotgun used in the shooting; long guns were necessary for protection of livestock.

The current Cawelti Road, running between Lewis Road and Los Posas Road, splits the acreage between John’s grandchildren, Ralph and Dora.

Picture #5:  Rotating Displays

An example of rotating displays (short-term displays); this display featuring children's clothing, shoes and accessories popular in the early days of Camarillo.

Research Library

Full of books of local history and interest, the Fulkerson Library contains rare and historical books of Ventura County.  While new books are being added to the library, many of the rare historical books are from Jack’s personal collection.  They will not be found on the internet!  Visitors are welcome to read, on-site, our non-circulating library.  A native of Somis, Jack and his family have been proprietors of Fulkerson’s Hardware for 4 generations. Visiting Jack’s son, Bob, and grandson, Kyle, at Fulkerson’s Hardware today is a step back in time and yet they have everything you could ever need from a real farm hardware store.