The Paley Center for Media's international collection is like a window into broadcasting's past. Nearly 150,000 radio and television programs chronicle political and cultural history from the last 100 years, dating back to when Marconi first invented the radio and, as a by-product, listening. At locations in Los Angeles and New York City, curators help visitors browse through these documentaries, public affairs programs, and commercials. They also host special events, in which media leaders interact with the public first hand. Since 1984, the annual Paleyfest has welcomed panels with the creators, writers, and cast behind some of media's most influential programs. Attendees have gained insights into shows such as 30 Rock, True Blood, and Modern Family. In more recent years, the Paley Center has started examining the significance of new media on the internet.
When Santa Monica celebrated its centennial in 1975, the Civic Auditorium hosted a small exhibition covering the city's 100-year history. Turns out Santa Monica's citizenry was hungry to document its past: by October of that year, the Santa Monica Historical Society held its founding meeting. 13 years later, the society opened the Santa Monica History Museum, which now encompasses myriad artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia. Most of those materials comprise the museum's timeline, which traces the city's origins up to the 1930s.
Beyond goodies from the past, the museum sports several interactive features to bring that history alive. Visitors can wander through a replica of a Douglas aircraft or digitally insert their photos onto front-page newspaper stories about historical events. The "Then & Now" touch-screen map, meanwhile, reveals the development over time of different Santa Monica landscapes, such as the many canyons that blossomed into In-N-Out Burgers. Along with its permanent exhibitions, the museum hosts an array of special programming, including concerts, workshops, and lectures from top historians.