We are remodeling

New Exhibits at PVIC

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes was awarded a grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Museum Grant Program to design, construct and install two permanent exhibits at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. The two exhibits will focus on shore whalers and the Point Vicente Lighthouse lens.

These two exhibits are part of a larger concept “Phase II” to incorporate new exhibitions that explore the human and natural history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Starting June 5th, 2018 The Point Vicente Interpretive Center will be preparing for these new exhibits.

Due to the nature of the work a portion of the museum will be closed and no public access will be permitted in the area seen below.


The lobby exhibits, banquet room, gift shop and park grounds will remain open to the public.

We anticipate reopening the exhibit area in September.

Point Vicente Lighthouse Fresnel lens

The 3rd order Fresnel lens was installed at the historic Point Vicente Lighthouse on May 1, 1926. The lens is a two-million candlepower white light that was developed from a fifteen-watt bulb focused through the handcrafted five-foot lens. It can be seen over twenty miles away, making it the brightest beacon in Southern California. It was dimmed during WWII to avoid aiding the enemy. Built in 1886, the lens is made up of hand-ground prisms held in place by a cast brass frame.

Fresnel lens

The Shore Whalers

In the 1860’s the market for whale oil- as fuel, for cosmetics and other products was vigorous and the men laboring on farms and ranches saw opportunity in the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale. Portuguese whalers were drawn to the proximity of so much blubber- seasonal practice of shore whaling took hold.