About Us

How a California basket collection and a search for a Victorian house came together

The Riverside Museum Associates (RMA) works in conjunction with the Riverside Metropolitan Museum  (RMM), a department of the City of Riverside.  The RMM is the steward of the public trust of artifacts, archives, and historic sites owned by the City of Riverside. The RMM is responsible for three historic sites: Harada House, the  Museum and the  Heritage House.

Originally called the Cornelius Earle Rumsey Indian Collection, the Museum opened in the basement of old City Hall in 1924, when the widow of NABISCO magnate Cornelius Earle Rumsey donated her late husband’s collection of Native American artifacts to the City of Riverside. The Riverside Metropolitan Museum holds one of the largest collections of Native American basketry in California.  Other collections were also donated to the young Museum including the Harwood Hall Collection and the Charles F. Clark donation of his entire estate for the establishment of a botanical section.

In 1948, the Museum was relocated to its current facility, a former U.S. Post Office built in 1912. Nine volunteer Riverside citizens are appointed as Board Members serving in an advisory capacity to the Museum. The Riverside Arts and Cultural Affairs Division and Riverside Metropolitan Museum are a part of the Smithsonian Affiliates Program

The Anthropology, Archival, History, and Natural History collections are preserved for future generations through proper storage, collections information management policies, and procedures. ARGUS collections management software provides a comprehensive database utilized for all collections related information and activities.

Appropriate historic preservation practices serve as a guide for the care, preservation, and maintenance of the Museum’s three historic structures — the National Register Main Museum, the National Register Heritage House, and the National Historic Landmark Harada House. Historic preservation professionals have identified the preservation needs ensure the structure’s preservation for future generations.