Rose Queen and Royal Court Exhibition

The Pasadena Museum of History promotes the history, art, and culture of Pasadena. The current exhibition on view (from September 2017 until February 2018) honors the Roses Queens and Her Royal Court. From the Queen’s selection to the Rose Parade day, explore this glamorous and flowerful universe.

The exhibit is easy to navigate (2 main rooms), I really appreciated the explanations from the passionate volunteers to learn fun facts and anecdotes. I discovered dresses, jewelry, photographies, crowns and more about these women selected as Pasadena’s ambassador.


History and Fun Facts

  • The Tournament of Roses was launched in 1890 by the Valley Hunt Club as they wanted to promote Pasadena and the beautiful weather. The original idea was to show the East Coast, that you can find roses in the West Coast during winter.
  • Since 1905, a Rose Queen preside over the annual Tournament of Roses.
  • Reserved for young ladies, age 17-21 years old, from Pasadena and surrounding area, the selection process requires, for example, to not be married, to not have kids, to attend school for the last two years and to have a grade C minimum.
    One of the 1st royal Queen and her court

    Queen’s Crown

    Symbol of the Queen, the crown is elaborate every year re-using elements from the previous year. At the beginning, the Queen was able to keep pieces of the crown but it rapidly changed. IMG_8901



The Queen and her court

The set guideline for the Queen and her court dresses was instituted in 1930. Traditionally, the Queen wears a white dress. On the opposite, her court has colorful dresses. It has happened that some years there was no royal court.


1965 Tournament

This dress was worn during the 1965 Tournament of Roses. It is definitely one of my favorite from this exhibition!


Can you notice the pearls and the beads on this white satin dress?


Evolution of dresses

Before 1930, Queens were given between $5 and $10 to make their own dresses. Later on, as appearances and court duties were formalized, the Tournament of Roses provided wardrobe and accessories.

Look the fashion’s evolution over the years.

1980 and after



The Queen and her court become ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses and of Pasadena. As a result, they have representation duties during their reign (approximately 150 events). The record, so far, is 300 events attended by Ann Marie Colburn (1984 Rose Queen) between her coronation in October and the parade in January. What an agenda!



Famous event

The Tournament of Roses is a famous event attended by millions of visitors, broadcasted around the world and made known nationally by television, radio, and newsprint.




  • Address: 470 W Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91103
  • Hours: Wed-Sun, Noon to 5:00 pm
  • Price: $7 per person (Exhibition Galleries)
  • Free days during Happy Birthday Pasadena (June), Museums of the Arroyo (MOTA) Day (May) and ArtNight Pasadena (March and October))
  • Website:
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Parking on site (places are limited)
  • IMG_8908

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