The Museum is located on the beautiful 34-acre grounds of Pilgrim Place, a cultural and religious community founded in 1915 for retired church workers. Residents come from service in nearly every state and 47 countries.
Over the years an extensive collection of international arts and crafts were brought to Pilgrim Place by retiring missionaries, pastors and other donors. In 1968 interested Claremont citizens organized the "Friends" dedicated to preserving and exhibiting these treasures-recognized in the 1980s as a community asset in need of a permanent location. With the combined efforts of the Friends, residents and the support of noted local artists including Richard and Alice Petterson, the dream of an intercultural arts center was realized with the opening of the main gallery in 1983.
Today with three galleries, the Louise Emery Library and a curator, the Petterson Museum contains a significant representation of fine international and folk art covering many centuries of human history.