History Staff Biographies | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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History Staff

William D. Estrada, Ph.D., Curator of California and American History and Chair of the History Department

Dr. Estrada holds a Ph.D. in History from University of California, Los Angeles and is a social and cultural historian, specializing in nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Los Angeles. Prior to coming to the Museum in 2006, he served as Curator of History at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the birthplace of the city. He is a native Angeleno and has taught at several colleges in the Los Angeles area, including California State University at Long Beach and Northridge, and at Occidental College where he also served as Assistant Dean of Students from 1981 to 1989. Dr. Estrada is a member of the American Historical Association, the California Historical Records Advisory Board, the Los Angeles County Historical Landmarks and Records Commission, the Archives Advisory Board of the Thomas and Dorothy Levy Center for the Study of Los Angeles based at Loyola Marymount University, LA As Subject Archives Forum, and the Los Angeles History Research Group, based at the Huntington Library. He has curated numerous public history exhibitions and has published widely on Los Angeles and California history. His latest book, The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space, was published in 2008 by the University of Texas Press and received the California Book Award’s Gold Medal by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. His current research project explores early-twentieth-century prize fighting, ethnic identity, and the rise of Los Angeles’ Italian, Jewish, and Mexican American communities.

John M. Cahoon, M.A., Collections Manager, Seaver Center for Western History Research

John Cahoon holds a B.A. in History from Occidental College and an M.A. in American History from California State University, Los Angeles. He is on staff with the History Department's Seaver Center. He assists visiting researchers and answers public inquiries about the center’s two-dimensional collections which often results in publications about Los Angeles, California, and the West. He has a particular interest in the Center’s more than 270 photographic collections which contain more than 300,000 images. He has curated several exhibitions at the Museum, including a 1984 exhibit Games of the Xth Olympiad: Los Angeles, 1932. He has been an active member of the Society of California Archivists holding several offices including newsletter editor, treasurer, and president.

Brent Riggs, B.A., Project Database Manager

Brent Riggs holds a B.A. in Visual Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Since 2003 he has been managing a database project to digitize and catalog the Seaver Center’s primary photographic collections. In addition to his role as Project Database Manager, he provides general support to the Seaver Center and Material Culture. He was formerly the Curator of the University Art Gallery at the University of California, San Diego from 1984 to 1996, and Collections Manager in Material Culture from 1999 to 2002.

Betty L. Uyeda, MLS, Collections Manager, Seaver Center for Western History Research

Betty Uyeda holds a B.A. in History from California State University, Los Angeles and an M.L.S. from San Jose State University. She is on staff with the History Department's Seaver Center. Before coming to the Seaver Center in 2007, she was a librarian at City of Commerce Public Library from 1997 to 2006, as well as a reference librarian in several Southern California college libraries. She organized community programs while at the City of Commerce: The 100th Anniversary of the Founding of Simons Brick Company Plant No. 3 (2005); and a tribute to former Los Angeles Dodger Roy Gleason and his book Lost in the Sun (2006). She is a member of the Society of California Archivists. Her current research topic is the street names of Los Angeles.

Beth Werling, M.A., Collections Manager, Material Culture

Beth Werling holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University and an M.A. in American History and Museum Studies from New York University. She is on staff with the History Department's Material Culture division. She has overall responsability for the management of the department's wide range of three-dimensional artifacts. Her research specialties are the history of the motion picture industry and the social history of the automobile in Los Angeles. Past talks she has given include “A Star is Worn” on the Museum’s motion picture costume collection; “William S. Hart: The Good Bad Man;” and “A Drop of Sunshine” on the history of citrus crate labels. She was the cocurator of an exhibition “Douglas Fairbanks, First King of Hollywood” held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Ms. Werling is a member of the Steering Committee for the Los Angeles Preservation Network; she is a board member of the Alex Film Society, Glendale, California.