Interior view of a museum with glass display cases along one wall. The display cases, walls, and rafters are covered by bones and other objects on display, including several human skulls. Some of the bones are draped like garlands from the shelves and rafters. A row of stone mortars and pestles sits on the floor on the right.
Santa Catalina Island is located approximately 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, near Long Beach. Beginning in the 1880s and continuing throughout the twentieth century, the island was developed as a resort and tourist destination, only closing to tourists during the second World War, during which time the island was used as a military training facility. Situated on a hill overlooking island's main port at Avalon, the Catalina Museum of Island Indians, commonly known as the Glidden Indian Museum, was established in 1923 by anthropologist Ralph Glidden. Prior to coming to Catalina, Glidden had collected for the Heye Foundation Museum of the American Indian in New York City. The Catalina Museum exhibited artifacts found on the island, including wampum and Spanish and Venetian beads, unassembled bones from an estimated 3,000 skeletons, mortars and pestles, flutes, pipes, arrowheads, and other bone and stone artifacts. Many of the items came from burial sites at White's Landing, Little Harbor, the Isthmus, Empire Landing, and Johnson's Landing on the island.