Preserving the History of Malibu Tiles

On Wednesday, July 16th, Pepperdine faculty and members of the Malibu community gathered at the Malibu Public Library to learn about the history of the Malibu tiles and how they are digitized at the Pepperdine Libraries.

Kelsey Knox, Archivist for Special Collections and University Archives, discussed the history of the Malibu Potteries, which were established by May Knight Rindge in 1926. Malibu Potteries were especially known for their glazes, and produced tiles and ceramic pieces heavily inspired by Moorish, Mayan, Spanish, and Saracen cultures. The Malibu tiles influenced local architecture, such as the Adamson House and Serra Retreat, which can still be viewed today.

Josias Bartram, Librarian for Digital Publishing, Curation, and Conservation, shared the process of digitizing the tiles, which includes the use of a 100 megapixel digitization camera. Most of the digitization is done by our very own Pepperdine students, specifically student workers and students studying digital humanities. Light is a key component of digitization, as it creates the shadows that add a three-dimensional effect to the image.

Want to take a closer look at the Malibu tiles? Check out our Malibu Tiles digital collection.

Want to see the collection in person? Schedule an appointment.


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Preserving the History of Malibu Tiles