About Us

Museum History

The Chautauqua (shuh-TAH-kwuh) Literary and Scientific Circle established its Pacific Coast branch in Pacific Grove in 1879. A two-week Chautauqua assembly was held here every summer, featuring lessons, exhibits, lectures, picnics, and concerts. Over the years several members felt the need to have a storeroom and exhibition site to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study. In 1883, a petition calling for a Museum building was signed by Professor H. B. Norton, Dr. J. H. Wyeth, Dr. C. L. Anderson, Miss Lucy M. Washburn, Miss Mary E. B. Norton, and Professor Josiah Keep. The petition was sent to F. S. Douty, secretary of the Pacific Improvement Company, and the Chautauqua Museum's first home small wooden octagonal building located at what is now Jewell Park became the Chautauqua Museum's first home.

The original Chautauqua Museum in Pacific Grove was initiated at the second meetings of the Chautauqua Assembly in 1881, and the actual Museum was founded in 1883. The Museum was created to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study. The first Museum was in a small wooden octagonal building in the site that is now Jewell Park, located across from the current site of the Museum. In 1900 the Chautauqua Museum disbanded to form a more permanent organization as the Pacific Grove Museum Association. The Pacific Improvement Company donated the Museum’s current lot to the Association, and the Museum subsequently moved into a large building on its current site.

The Association maintained the Museum until 1916 when it was transferred to the City of Pacific Grove through a Charter election. The Museum remains city owned and is operated by a non-profit 501.c.3 The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. The Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1972, the first such institution in Monterey County.

The Museum's mission is to inspire discovery, wonder, and stewardship of our natural world. The Museum has become a living field guide to the California Central Coast.

Museum Mission

To inspire wonder, discovery, and stewardship of our natural world.

Museum Board of Directors

JASON BURNETT, Director and President

Home: Carmel
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Economics, Stanford University; Masters of Arts, Earth Systems, Stanford University
Business Background: Principal at Burnett EcoEnergy, a consulting and investment group, which supports financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; Associate Deputy Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (energy and climate change policy and greenhouse gases regulations); testimony before Senate and Congressional committees and continuing engagement with federal and state policy leaders on regulation of greenhouse gases; Director of Consulting and Structured Investments, Evolution Marketing.

STEVE DENNIS, Director and Vice President

Home: Carmel
Business Background: Founded Smith, Dennis & Gaylord in 1973 and SD&G Healthcare Systems. Served on Board of Directors of Pointshare Corporation. Earlier in his career, Steve worked for General Electric on the Apollo Moon Project (Cape Canaveral, FL.) Steve has served on numerous nonprofit boards including Sea Studios Foundation, the Point Lobos Foundation, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Sealife Conservation, and the Monterey County Family Service Agency.  

ROBERT BIANCHI, Director and Treasurer

Home: Pacific Grove
Degrees: Bachelor of Science, Accounting, University of San Francisco
Business Background: Managing General Partner, Bianchi, Kasavan & Pope, LLP providing public accounting & tax services for individuals, corporations, partnerships, non-profits, trusts & estates, as well as auditing and business valuation services; former partner in successful oil & gas exploration company.

JUDD PERRY, Director and Secretary

Home: Pacific Grove (10 Years)
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, History, Columbia University; Doctor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Business Background: 35+ years in the practice of business and corporate law; Vice President & General Counsel to Kaiser Industries Corporation, Kaiser Steel Corporation and Prodigy Services Company.


Home: Pacific Grove
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Chemistry, Graduate Studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of the Pacific; Master of Arts, Management and Healthcare Administration, Central Michigan University
Business Background: Business development, management, management consulting, marketing and sales in a variety of healthcare- related businesses, including hospitals, medical clinics, pathology laboratories and health centers; experience in start-ups and turn-arounds; and legislative advocacy in professional fields.



Home: Pacific Grove
Degrees: BA English, Stanford University
Business Background:  Vice President Communications, Monterey Bay Aquarium. Experienced in directing communications and marketing programs, including media relations, web/website operations, graphic design, community relations, marketing and advertising.  (26 years.) Board member, Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce. Board member, Monterey County Hospitality Association. Former board member and committee member Monterey Visitors and Convention Bureau. AAM professional member and PRAM committee member. Professional and committee member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums


DEDE BENT, Director

Home: Monterey
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Berkeley; Masters of Arts, University of Oregon
Business Background: Owner, Personnel Resources (Monterey); Human Resources Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium; Administrator, Marin Museum of Science; Seminar Coordinator, Young President’s Organization; Assistant Registrar, Guggenheim Museum.

ED CLIFTON, Director

Home: Monterey
Degrees:  Bachelor of Science with high Distinction in Geology, The Ohio State University; Doctor of Philosophy in Geology, The Johns Hopkins Univerity.
Business Background:  Geoloist, U.S. Geological Survey, Chief, USGS Pacific Branch of Marine Biology; Aquanaut, Man-in-Sea Projects Tektite 1 and 2; Adjunct Professor, Department of Geology, Stanford University; senior research Fellow, Conoco, Inc.


DAN CORT, Director

Home: Pacific Grove
Business Background: CEO of the Cort Companies: preserving and renovating historic real estate in Northern California for the past 30 years.City Council Member, Mayor Pro-Tem and Mayor, City of Pacific Grove, California 2004 – 2009. Pacific Grove Planning Commission, 1999-2004., Chairperson - 2003-2004. Ocean Council, Oceana. Board of Directors, Sealife Conservation. Board of Directors, Pacific World History Institute. Advisory Board, School of International Studies, University of the Pacific. Advisory Board, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). International Advisory Board, MIIS. Founding Board Member, Vice-Chairman, Downtown Stockton Alliance .  Board of Directors, United Way of San Joaquin County. Founding Member, Board of Directors, The Children’s Museum of Stockton. Lifetime Member, California State Teachers Association.

PAUL DAVIS, Director

Home: Monterey
Degree: Bachelor of Architecture, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 
Business Background:  Paul has been in the field of Architecture for over 25 years, first as a Project Architect for Davis, Jacoubowsky, Hawkins and Walker Associates, Inc. and now as a partner of The Paul Davis Partnership.  Paul currently serves as a member of the Planning Commission for the City of Monterey, Chair of the Design Review Board for Sand City and Consulting Architect for CSU Monterey Bay.


Home: Pacific Grove
Degrees: Bachelor of Science, Physics, Manhattan College; Master of Business Administration, Pace University; Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, CSUMB 
Business background:
Director of International Marketing and Product Management, Compaq Computers and Hewlett Packard; 6th Grade Core instructor, PG Middle School; past-President of the Pacific Grove Museum Association 



Home: Pacific Grove (30 Years)
Degrees: Ph.D. in interdisciplinary Museum Studies / Education Theory; Master of Arts in Arts Education; Bachelor of Arts in Art History
Business Background: 10 years, Professor of Museum Studies and Art History, California State University Monterey Bay; 11 years, Art Teacher, Pacific Grove Middle School


Home: Pebble Beach
Degrees: Pacific Grove High School 1968; AA degree, Monterey Peninsula College; Bachelor of Science, Psychology, California State University, Hayward
Business Background: Manager and Buyer, Antiques International, Ltd., San Jose; Employed in family business, Trotter's Antiques, Pacific Grove; Currently co-own and operate (with Paula Trotter), Trotter Galleries, in Pacific Grove and Carmel, which focuses on California's artistic heritage (1875-1950), with emphasis on the early artists of the Monterey Peninsula. Trotter Galleries has a long history of association with museums and institutions on a local, state, and national basis. Certified appraiser of American furniture and Fine Art by the International Society of Appraisers.  


Contact Museum Board of Directors

Contact Museum Board of Directors:

The Museum Board of Directors welcomes your input and comments. You may contact them directly via email, MuseumBoard@pgmuseum.org or by sending a letter to:

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

c/o Secretary, Board of Directors

165 Forest Avenue

Pacific Grove CA


Your letter or email will be read as formal correspondence during the Museum Board's monthly meeting. Since the Museum Board of Directors will respond directly to you, your legal name and address must be included in your correspondence for it to be formally accepted. 

If you would like to contact Jason Burnett, President of the Museum Board of Directors, please email jason.burnett@gmail.com or call his home phone at 831.624.3252.


Museum Staff

Beverly Bruno, Museum Services, 831.648.5716 ext 16, giftshop@pgmuseum.org

Chris Hasegawa, Interim Development Director, development@pgmuseum.org

Annie C. Holdren, Ph.D., Exhibitions Curator, 831.648.5716, ext 17, Holdren@pgmuseum.org

Lori A. Mannel, Executive Director, 831.648.5718, Mannel@pgmuseum.org

Danielle Stevens , Executive Assistant, 831.648.5716 ext 15, admin@pgmuseum.org

Korrisa Troxel, LiMPETS Coordinator, 831.648.5716 ext 11, limpets@pgmuseum.org 

Paul VandeCarr, Collections Curator, 831.648.5716 ext 12, vandecarr@pgmuseum.org 

Ann Wasser, Education Manager, 831.648.5716 x14, wasser@pgmuseum.org   

Allison Watson, Community Outreach Program Manager, 831.648.5716, ext. 20, outreach@pgmuseum.org

The Museum's Director and Curator Emeritus is Vern Yadon. 


Museum Documents