Museum History

Balboa Island, with all its allure and charm, has been a favorite California location for locals and vacationers alike. Now residents and visitors can discover all sorts of interesting and fascinating facts about this magical Island by visiting the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society. Visitors will be fascinated by the display of Island memorabilia, including classic photographs that depict the Island’s captivating history.

The Museum was founded in 2000 after local Pat Buderwitz had the idea of turning the old Fire Station into an Island Museum. Pat and a group of Island neighbors started meeting regularly and formed an organization, the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society (BIMHS). On May 13, 2000, a reception was held at the Newport Beach Yacht Club to introduce the BIMHS to the Island residents. When the fire station option fell through, the BIMHS decided to rent a space until a more permanent location could be found. They moved into their first location across from the ferry during March of 2002.

In the spring of 2011, the Board of Directors made the decision to relocate the Museum to 331 Marine Avenue, becoming part of Balboa Island’s “Main Street.” This charming vintage cottage is the perfect site to showcase the Museum’s artifacts and it is the hope and desire of the committee that this location will also provide a meeting place for the local community. (Coincidentally, the new location is very close to the old Fire Station, their original chosen spot!)

Locals and visitors are welcome to check out the new location and learn a little bit of Balboa Island’s enchanting history.

Our Mission

Our mission is to preserve the Island heritage and its sense of community. It is the intent for the Museum to be a place where Islanders and visitors can gather and share Island memories. Learn how you can help click here

Board of Directors

Shirley Pepys
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

Tanner Hill
HÔM Sotheby’s

Jo Ellen Collins
Design Alliance


Don Abrams
Abrams Costal Properties

David Beek
Island Marine Fuel

Steve Neimeister
tklsc Engineering Consultants

Sue Sibley
Balboa Island Hotel

Julie Siebel

Tony Guanci

Museum Staff


Brittany Webb

Celeste Dennerline

*Denotes Volunteer Position