A seaside landmark popular with tourists and locals alike, the Santa Monica Pier is a lively family-friendly mecca offering games, rides and oceanic frolic. But even Angelenos who’ve noted its transformation over time might not know its full history. Santa Monica Pleasure Pier: A Look Back to 1917 from Today, an extensive exhibit at the Santa Monica History Museum running through Feb. 22, offers rare historical photographs and artifacts exploring the history of the locale, focusing on its “Pleasure Pier” era at the turn of the century and into the early 1930s, when businessman Charles Looff opened the entertainment and amusement hub. The museum has Charles I.D. Looff’s “Prospectus Book” (featuring photographs, drawings for proposed structures, and confidential financial information) on display, and the rare tome makes for a fascinating flashback to the early development of Los Angeles. The prospectus images, presented alongside contemporary photographs compiled by author Michael Murphy and photographer Jens Lucking, serve to illuminate the famed Southern California destination in a new way, contrasting past and present, and serving as an in-person companion to Murphy’s book of the same name released last October.
Santa Monica History Museum, 1350 7th St., Santa Monica; Runs through Feb. 22, Tue. & Thu., noon-8 p.m.; Wed., Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $10, $5 seniors & students, veterans, military & children 12 and under, free. facebook.com/events/