Kelley House Museum ~ Our Research Process

Curious about a particular aspect of Mendocino’s history? Take advantage of the Kelley House Museum’s tools and services to dig deeper. Our services include:

Searchable Collections

The archive represents over 150 years of Mendocino coastal history with one of the most comprehensive collections available to the public both online and in person. Our free, searchable collection includes over 10,500 entries of maps, documents, books, photographs, oral histories, and artifacts, plus 8,200 names of people associated with Mendocino.


Our museum-quality vault preserves precious artifacts, papers, and ephemera in a climate-controlled environment. The contents of the vault are archived in our database, which you can search online. We are also happy to show you items in person, and request that you make an advance appointment with us, as materials must remain on-site.

Research Library

Our library includes books and periodicals; files on families, towns and local subjects; telephone directories; and copies of the Mendocino Beacon beginning in 1877. Unique periodicals include the Mendocino Robin, Ridge Review, Country Women, and Big River News, among others. You are welcome to browse our library by advance appointment as materials and publications must remain on-site.

research items
research items
boxes of research items


Explore your genealogy using our collection of photographs, news clippings, obituaries and family documents. Also available are census records, voter records, and school registers.


The contents of the archives are always increasing as generous donors share their family treasures. If you wish to preserve old photos or artifacts pertaining to the Mendocino Coast, consider donating them to the Kelley House Museum. Contact us in advance to set up an appointment.

Digital Images

If you find an image from our archives you would like to acquire for personal or business use, we are happy to supply you with a digital copy. See our fee schedule and copyright information. To order an image, please complete the form below.

Our Research Fees

We are happy to help you research family history, find out more about the historic houses in the town of Mendocino, or learn the many fascinating stories of the people who created our unique Mendocino history. We will provide your first half hour of research for free to help you assess what is available on your chosen topic. Consider joining the Kelley House as a member if you are interested in research. All membership levels (starting at $50/year) include a free hour of research and one free digital photo from our archives, among other benefits. Refer to our fee schedule for pricing.

If you need any assistance, please contact us by email or set up an appointment to visit us in person.