about THE museum


Our Mission

The mission of the Pardee Home is to preserve and interpret the historic Pardee family residence, including its gardens and collections, for the education and enjoyment of the citizens of Oakland and the greater Bay Area, and for visitors from throughout the nation and world.

Discover Treasures from the Past in Downtown Oakland

Here’s your chance to discover a local historical treasure! While visitors flock to San Francisco’s many historical sites, few know what’s just across the Bay—the Pardee Home Museum—one of the great gems of the California Museums.

Oakland’s Pardee Home Museum is one of California’s architectural and historical treasures. From the outside, the beauty of the house and gardens is striking enough—and once you get inside, you’ll be astonished by the unique interiors and artifacts from around the world. Be prepared to discover its outstanding historical importance as the home of one of the East Bay’s most influential families.

From the mines to public office

Enoch Pardee came to California from the Midwest during the Gold Rush to make his fortune. He succeeded well enough to become a respected eye doctor, and in 1868-69 built the house that is now the Pardee Home Museum. Enoch also pursued a vigorous public career in the 1870’s and 1880’s, serving as mayor of Oakland, state assemblyman, and state senator. His son, George C. Pardee, followed closely in his father’s footsteps, also becoming an eye doctor and mayor of Oakland, and was elected Governor of California in 1902.


»  The “Earthquake Governor”, who received universal praise for his remarkable leadership during the 1906 tragedy
»  One of the most important early conservationists in the United States
»  Founding commissioner of the Port of Oakland
»  Founder and longtime president of the local water utility, EBMUD, which honored him with the naming of the Pardee Dam, still the dominant source of water for this region
»  Co-founder of the Progressive Party in California

What you can uncover at the museum

In addition to the architecture of the house itself and the richness of the renovated gardens, the Museum offers two floors of collections—from the sublime to the bizarre—that explore the rich diversity of the Pardee family’s interests. Governor Pardee’s wife Helen was one of the most prodigious private collectors in California. Her collections are exhibited today just as the family left them. Just a few of the 70,000 objects in the collections include scrimshaw from Alaska, candlesticks from India, altar pieces from China, weapons from Africa, rosaries from Mexico and fine art from California.

Mrs. Pardee was a renowned hostess, and loved to give house tours with an emphasis on her collections—a tradition that lives on today when you tour the Pardee Home Museum.