An HMOC Overview

Heritage Museum of Orange County is a nonprofit cultural and natural history and events center in Southern California dedicated to preserving, promoting, and restoring the heritage of Orange County and the surrounding region through quality hands-on educational programs, community events, “living history” exhibits and environmental stewardship opportunities for students and visitors of all ages. Developed to provide a host of exploratory educational experiences, HMOC attracts more than 40,000 guests a year to our property with our range of tours, exhibits and public events.

The centerpiece of the museum, which covers nearly 12 acres in all, is a historic plaza featuring several buildings from the 1890s set amidst extensive floral gardens and citrus groves. The main, and most well-known historic buildings on the property are the Queen Anne-style Victorian Kellogg House built in 1898, familiar to teachers and students throughout Orange County as a favorite field trip destination for over 30 years, as well as the nearly 6,000 square foot Colonial Revival Maag Family Farmhouse completed in 1899, along with two of its original outbuildings: the water tower/pump room now used as the HMOC giftshop and the Carriage Barn housing HMOC offices and conference space.

HMOC’s grounds also feature a fully functional Blacksmith shop where the O.C. Blacksmith Guild operates from, holds classes, and participates in school fieldtrip and event demonstrations; a Quilter’s Cottage used for exhibits and field trips; an authentically made Adobe house; Gospel Swamp Farm, an urban farm and living seed library where visitors learn about horticulture and sustainable farming; and Gospel Swamp Natural Area open to self-led trail walks and one of the few places left in central Orange County with federally designated and protected wetlands.

Get to Know

Heritage Museum of Orange County is a cultural and natural history center dedicated to preserving, promoting, and restoring the heritage of Orange County and the surrounding region through quality hands-on educational programs for students and visitors of all ages.

HMOC has a significant story steeped in Orange County history. In early 1980, Dr. Mary Nolan (who worked in the Special Services and Enrichment Activities department of the Santa Ana School District), noticed that students in other districts enjoyed a variety of field trips. However, Santa Ana students could not participate, due to lack of funds for buses and entrance fees. Dr. Nolan’s idea was to purchase a historic house, have it moved to a vacant lot in Santa Ana that was previously owned by the federal government and quitclaimed to the school district to use for educational purposes, renovating the house so the parents in the district could be docents. Students could tour the house to learn about Orange County history. 

Working with then City of Santa Ana Grants Coordinator Alice McCullough and the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, the need became apparent to preserve the past and maintain connections to early founders.  The Kellogg Family generously donated their family home to be saved for educational purposes and after a lengthy inspection and restoration process the museum was created and the nonprofit Board of Directors and organization was formed. 

Officially founded in 1981, the museum opened for visitors in 1985 and for the first 10 years served mainly Santa Ana students.  The Museum has gone through various name changes over the years but has matured into the present-day Heritage Museum of Orange County that many are familiar with.

View more in depth historical accounts and timelines of the creation and evolution of HMOC:

“Origin of the Discovery Center (pre-HMOC name change)”

“Centennial Heritage Museum development timeline (pre HMOC name change)”

Explore the history of the Kellogg and Maag Families and their houses through information and photos!

Kellogg House

Maag Farmhouse

Today, Heritage Museum of Orange County offers elaborate “living history” exhibits, environmental stewardship opportunities, and community events for visitors of all ages. Developed to provide a host of exploratory and interpretive educational and entertainment experiences, Heritage Museum attracts more than 40,000 guests a year.

Heritage Museum Orange County Video Tour

Heritage Museum of Orange County is moving forward to continue its commitment to excellence as a premier living history and education center.  Its 19th century beauty and historic plaza amid extensive floral gardens and citrus groves sets the theme to experience and learn about the county’s unique past. 

It is vital to respectfully acknowledge the caretakers of the land that we now call Heritage Museum of Orange County. Santa Ana sits on the ancestral lands of the Tongva (Gabrielino) people as well as the Acjachemen (Juaneño) people. We honor the Tongva and Acjachemen elders and descendants, past, present, and future, who continue to steward this land and its waters. We are grateful to work on the land of the Tongva and Acjachemen people. We commit to uplifting this resilient community. We commit to learning how we can become better stewards of this sacred land.

Heritage Museum of Orange County is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Federal Tax ID No.: 95-3665050

At HMOC we strive to provide a safe environment for visitors and staff alike. Our policies are put in place to ensure the best experience for all. HMOC will not tolerate inappropriate behavior on our property or on our online platforms, including, but not limited to: yelling, violence, intimidation, threats, harassment, aggression, swearing, damage, abuse, or sexual harassment. HMOC is a space for safe, constructive, and respectful dialogue and actions. Comments and interactions deemed by Museum representatives to be offensive, racist, derogatory, demeaning, or otherwise hurtful in nature will not be tolerated. No weapons of any kind or drug use will be allowed on the Museum property at any time.  Smoking and vaping is an extreme fire hazard to our historic buildings and is strictly limited to certain areas and times only; some events may be completely off limits to smoking of any kind, please check individual event policies.  Be courteous and aware of your surroundings and actions at all times to protect our property and for the safety of yourself and others.

Individuals who are out of compliance with museum policies and/or are aggressive toward staff or other visitors will be expelled from HMOC and escorted off the property with a possible permanent ban. No refunds will be issued. Please help us maintain the respectful and safe environment we’ve worked to establish for the community.

Face coverings are encouraged for unvaccinated or compromised individuals. HMOC will have a limited amount of masks and sanitizer available during your programming, but you are encouraged to bring your own.

As a private organization, Heritage Museum of Orange County and its staff members reserves the right to refuse service or entry and/or revoke admission with no refund to individuals and/or groups whose presence and/or participation interferes with the safety and well-being of other patrons and the organization itself, or who is not compliant with health and safety procedures.

By entering an event or program of Heritage Museum of Orange County, you are entering an area where photography, audio and video recording may occur.

‌Your entry and presence on the event premises constitutes your consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded and to the release, publication, exhibition, or reproduction of any and all recorded media of your appearance, voice, and name for any purpose whatsoever in perpetuity in connection with Heritage Museum of Orange County and its initiatives, including, by way of example only, use on websites, in social media, news and advertising.

‌By entering the event premises, you waive and release any claims you may have related to the use of recorded media of you at the event, including, without limitation, any right to inspect or approve the photo, video or audio recording of you, any claims for invasion of privacy, violation of the right of publicity, defamation, and copyright infringement or for any fees for use of such record media.

‌You understand that all photography, filming and/or recording will be done in reliance on this consent. If you do not agree to the foregoing, please do not enter the event premises.


Press Room

View press releases, news clippings, request media access, arrange for an interview and more

Staff & BOD

Get acquainted with the Team behind HMOC

HMOC Careers

View open job postings to join the HMOC Team

Visit Us

Find useful information to plan your HMOC visit with us in advance!