A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

On 16 November 1891, a small group of interested citizens formally founded the Southern California Science Association. The members met for programs on various topics and had excursions to local sites. On 12 May 1896, the name changed to The Southern California Academy of Sciences, with formal incorporation on 17 May 1907. In 1908, an active member of the society started excavating oil deposits at Rancho La Brea to find fossil mammals. Others soon joined the efforts and expressed an interest in building a museum to house and display the findings. The building that now houses the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (then known as the Museum of History, Science, and Art) resulted from these efforts and dates from late 1911. The society originally met irregularly at a large number of different localities. Starting in 1944, the society met more or less monthly in the museum. For many years the governing Board of Directors has met on the first Friday of each month, except usually January, June, July, and September. From the beginnings, the society held annual dinner meetings at some special place. Starting in 1961, at Long Beach State College (now California State University, Long Beach), the society held all day meetings to allow for formal presentation of papers by members. For some years now, the society has held its annual meeting on a Friday and Saturday in May or June, usually on the campus of a local institution of higher learning. In 1902, the society started a monthly bulletin, which proved too difficult to maintain. After four years, the frequency of offering dropped to two or three issues a year. Currently the three annual issues have dates of April, August, and December. In 1957, the society developed a junior academy for high school students. In 1980, the society began sponsoring research by high school students, with funding from various sources. Students may present their findings at the annual meeting in a special section on Saturday.

 

These notes were condensed from Sibley, G., 1991. Academy Centennial 1891-1991. Bulletin, Southern California Academy of Sciences, 90(1): 1-7.