Pasadena Museum of History Showcases Ernest Allen Batchelder’s Legacy

Published on Feb 28, 2024

Following overwhelming demand, the Pasadena Museum of History (PMH) has announced a second date for “Show and Tell,” the museum’s highly anticipated program celebrating the renowned American Arts and Crafts tilemaker, Ernest Allen Batchelder. 

Born on January 22, 1875, in Nashua, New Hampshire, Batchelder attended Massachusetts Normal Art School and received his Public School Class diploma in 1899. He relocated to Pasadena in the early 1900s, where he taught and later became the art department director at Throop Polytechnic Institute. The institute later became the California Institute of Technology.

On Thursday, March 7, enthusiasts and curious minds alike can visit the Pasadena Museum of History and delve into Batchelder’s world through a captivating show-and-tell presentation led by PMH Project Archivist Iris Shih.

The event will be an intimate exploration of the museum’s extensive collections dedicated to Batchelder’s life and work. Shih’s passion for Batchelder’s legacy shines through as she shares insights into the artist’s personal records, original artwork, business papers, and, of course, his iconic tiles.

PMH hosts the Batchelder Family Papers and the Ernest A. Batchelder Tile Collection and Archives, which offer a glimpse into the life of a true artistic pioneer, Shih said. These materials were donated by Batchelder’s grandson, Alan Batchelder, and the late architectural historian Dr. Robert Winter. 

The Batchelder Tile Registry is an ambitious initiative spearheaded by PMH to document extant Batchelder tile installations across North America. 

“The items in our collections related to Batchelder cover a wide breadth of subjects, from his personal and family history, photographs, awards, civic participation, correspondences, published works, personal book collection, artwork, and business records,” Shih said. “Even those who might be unfamiliar with Batchelder’s work or the Arts and Crafts movement can appreciate this multifaceted individual and his unique designs, craftsmanship, and contributions in art, history, entrepreneurship, and education.” 

The registry serves as a vital resource for researchers and enthusiasts alike and offers invaluable insights into Batchelder’s artistic vision and the tiles’ widespread influence. Through community engagement and meticulous documentation, the museum aims to illuminate Batchelder’s legacy for generations to come.

The program begins at 7 p.m. Prior to the presentation, PMH Galleries will open their doors at 6 p.m. during which guests can explore the museum’s diverse collections and exhibitions.

Reflecting on the significance of Batchelder’s work, Shih emphasizes its enduring relevance and universal appeal. 

“Our registry continues to be a work in progress and currently stands at nearly 200 Batchelder entries,” she said. “As the preeminent leader in art tile on the west coast, Batchelder had many rival firms, one of which – also based in the Los Angeles area – was Claycraft Potteries, installations of which are also included in our research project.” 

Advanced reservations are required because of the limited space available. To purchase tickets, go to

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