The Balboa Island Museum has an array of local history displays. We collaborate with the community for special exhibits on loan from our residents.

Current Exhibits:


Arts of the Ancient Mariner on loan from Bill Stewart

It’s All About the River: The Importance of the Santa Ana River to Newport Bay


The legend as a local

John Wayne Enterprises is pleased to present a curated show of images and memorabilia that showcase the Duke’s life at home. Hosted by the Balboa Island Museum, the exhibit features images of John Wayne at his house in the Bay Shores neighborhood of Newport Beach, on his boat the Wild Goose (still docked here in Newport) and enjoying life around Southern California and the Pacific Coastline. Opening on what would have been John Wayne’s 110th Birthday on May 26TH, this temporary exhibit lets visitors get a sense of how John Wayne interacted with the place many of us still call home. Included with the exhibit will be a selection of John Wayne memorabilia and a brand new Newport Beach capsule collection with proceeds benefitting the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the Balboa Island Museum. Stop by between May 26th and September 30 to view “John Wayne – At Home in SoCal, 1920 – 1979” and support the John Wayne Cancer Foundation
– Curated by Amy Shepherd and Bonny Taylor

Press release – John Wayne Exhibit 2017


Rotating Exhibit:

Balboa Island Yacht Club (BIYC) Perpetual Trophies


















BIYC began in 1922 – it is the second oldest yacht club in Newport Harbor and the only yacht club run by kids and the only club that offers a range of water sports in addition to sailing.  The goal of BIYC is to encourage youngsters to learn water skills, practice good sportsmanship and develop faithful attendance…. and to have a lot of fun while making lifelong friends. We exhibit the perpetual trophies. Visit the BIYC page to learn more.

Past Exhibits:

Hall China Company Exhibit

Long-time Balboa Island resident Cindy Houston has been collecting Hall China since the 1970s. Her father owned the Halls Drive Inn restaurant chain, which began in Santa Ana and spread throughout Orange County, where Hall china was used every day. Cindy was inspired to begin collecting Hall china because Hall was her maiden name. Her collection reflects the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s pieces. We are grateful to Cindy for sharing this wonderful collection.

The Hall China Company began production in 1903 in East Liverpool, OH. In 1911, Robert Taggert Hall developed the first leadless glaze, resulting in products that were strong, non-porous and craze-proof/crack-proof. The non-crazing process used was designed to emulate beautiful wares made in China during the Ming Dynasty.
World War I gave Hall China Company an opportunity to furnish chinaware to the institutional trade, and they were able to maintain that trade after the war was over. The Hall palette of colors included no fewer than 47 different variations over the years.
Beginning in 1936, Hall designed more than 15 other dinnerware patterns decorated with decals. Post-World War II consumer families used the functional pottery every day. Leftovers could be stored and re-heated in the pieces, going directly from the oven to the table. Dinnerware often made its way into American homes through “The Jewel Man,” a door-to-door salesman employed by the Jewel Tea Company of Chicago. This is where the collector’s nickname “Jewel Tea” originated. New items were added to the collection through 1980. Hall made advertising items for many American brands, including Old Crow, United Airlines, and McCormick Tea Bags. Westinghouse, Hotpoint, and General Electric were among the refrigerator manufacturers who often included Hall water jugs, leftover containers (known by collectors as refrigerator dishes), and butter dishes as premiums with their products.
Hall China continues in production today and is a prominent supplier of commercial restaurant dinnerware.

Kewpie Dolls and Love Stories Exhibit on loan from Shirley Pepys

Around Town: Balboa Island Museum celebrates Valentine’s and Kewpie dolls