Our History and Mission
The Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History is named after its founder, a U.C. Berkeley graduate in history who enjoyed a long career at the Oakland Tribune. In the mid-1960s, Jack Mason, along with his wife Jean, retired to his lifelong summer community of Inverness in West Marin County and began to document the history of the area, eventually writing eight books and publishing a delightful quarterly journal, Point Reyes Historian. Jack eventually created a wide-ranging and fascinating history exhibit in the parlor of his historic home, The Gables, and opened it to the public on Sundays. Jack’s last wishes were that The Gables become a community asset: a new home for the then-tiny Inverness Library with a history room and space for his vast collection of West Mariniana. When he died in 1985, local residents and the Inverness Foundation rallied and made his wish come true by raising money for the purchase and rehabilitation of the 1893 house. The Inverness Library and Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History opened in late 1986 and have been serving the public since.
The all-volunteer museum staff remodeled the circa 1890 “Baily’s Cottage” behind The Gables as a collection room, safely storing an ever-growing archive of West Marin photographs, maps, documents, newspapers and artifacts. The collection covers the Tomales Bay region from the tip of Point Reyes to the depths of Devils Gulch, from Ocean Roar to Dogtown.
The Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History is a membership organization under the fiscal umbrella of the non-profit Inverness Foundation. We rely on dues, donations, and book sales, as well as the occasional special event, to continue to protect and enhance Jack Mason’s priceless collection of historical information. Future plans include new publication of Jack’s books, which have been out of print for decades.
The Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History is primarily an archive with some museum collections created to build upon local historian Jack Mason's extensive history collection. The Museum collects and preserves materials pertaining to the history of the Point Reyes Peninsula and Tomales Bay regions. Our mission is to enrich the community through exhibits, publications, outreach programs, and research opportunities. We seek to inspire public interest in West Marin history and to highlight its connection to contemporary life.
The Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History is recognized as a major repository of historical materials of the area, actively collaborating with the community to enhance appreciation of local history. Our vision includes a well staffed state-of-the-art facility for optimal protection and access to collections for research and interpretation.
Jack Mason (1911-1985), the beloved West Marin historian, was the founder of this small house museum in Inverness. A retired newspaper editor with deep roots in Inverness, he set to work in the 1960s chronicling stories for the local newspaper. Jack eventually published eight books and a quarterly journal, the Point Reyes Historian. Upon his death in 1985, he left his collection and historic house, The Gables, to the people of West Marin through an arrangement with his daughter and the Inverness Foundation. Fulfilling his wish, the Inverness Branch of the Marin County Free Library and the Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History now occupy his former residence, thus assuring that the work he began would continue and grow.
The Jack Mason Museum Committee is authorized by the Inverness Foundation to carry out the mission of the museum and to manage the facilities, programs, publications and collections in its care. The committee meets every last Monday of the month, at 4:00pm, in the exhibit room at the Inverness Library.
- Tom Branan, Chairman & Inverness Association Liaison
- Ann Read, Secretary
- Meg Linden, Treasurer
- Dewey Livingston, Historian
- Carola DeRooy, Archivist
- Andrew Buckingham
- Gray Brechin
- Loretta Farley
Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History
Mailing Address: P O Box 94 Inverness, CA 94937
Location: 15 Park Avenue Inverness, CA 94937