Opening Summer 2021

Our core values are reflected in our archives, exhibits, educational programs, and partnerships.


We provide historical materials and fine art to our partners throughout California.

Casa Romantica​

415 Avenida Granada
San Clemente, CA 92672

Who was Nellie Gail Moulton? Pioneer, Artist and so much more is at Casa Romantica. Please contact them directly to ensure safety requirements.

The exhibit, which has been extended through November 15, 2020.

Closing Reception: Friday, November 13 @ 6-8 PM
Free! (RSVP Required)
Join us for the closing reception for Who Was Nellie Gail Moulton? Pioneer, Artist and so much more with complimentary wine and a performance by Jeremy Green.
Who was Nellie Gail Moulton? is underwritten by the Historical Collections Council of California Art with support from the Moulton Museum

This exhibit is featured on the cover of March 2020 Orange County Magazine. It has been highlighted nationwide by ARTFIXdaily. View our online exhibit here with biographical information, historical photos, and complete painting collection.

Annual Events

Ranching and agriculture are central to the identity of the Moulton family to this day.

Maxwell, California

Moulton Roundup

In these times, family and friends are more important than ever. For over a century, the Moulton family has been gathering, working their cattle and building community just like they used to do on the Moulton Ranch during the ranching period of Orange County. At Moulton Museum we hope to tell the stories and share the traditions that bring us all together, connect us to our past and keep our community spirit alive into the future. Enjoy the video from our latest round-up held in Maxwell, CA earlier this year.

Watch our 10 minute film about this historic event.

Pioneers of Orange County

Lewis Fenno Moulton & Nellie Gail Moulton

The Moulton Ranch was established by Lewis Fenno Moulton. He was a prestigious lawyer’s son. His father was a classmate and friend of President Lincoln. Lewis had worked at old Daniel Webster farm as an adolescent. As a part of Western expansion, many young men ventured West for opportunity. Lewis traveled to California at twenty years old by a boat around the Isthmus of Panama, train, and another boat to San Francisco before landing in soon to by Orange County. He learned to run a ranching operation by working at Rancho San Joaquin starting in 1874.

According to Louise Moulton Hanson, “In 1881 he bought Jonathan Bacon’s band of sheep and rented his 1,600 acres.” Lewis F. Moulton and Company was established with Jean Pierre Daguerre, a Basque sheepherder. The would developed a sheep and cattle enterprise along with agriculture.

On April 29, 1884 Lewis leased “17,000 acres, from Cyrus Rawson” (2018.43) which was a part of Rancho Niguel, a Mexican land grant once owned by Juan Avila. 

Throughout the years, Lewis purchased 21,723 acres which became the Moulton Ranch. Today, the land comprises much of Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and Aliso Viejo. We aim to work with these cities to provide them with their heritage and preserve the past. Together we can educate the communities by exhibiting their history at the Moulton Museum.

Cities Incorporated from Moulton Ranch

Laguna Niguel

Acquired: 1959 by the Laguna Niguel Corporation Incorporated‎: ‎December 1, 1989

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Laguna Woods

Acquired: 1963 by Ross Cortese as Leisure World Incorporated: March 24, 1999

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Laguna Hills

Subdivided in the early 1960s from the Moulton Ranch Incorporated: December 20, 1991

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Aliso Viejo

Acquired: 1976 by the Mission Viejo Company Incorporated: July 1, 2001

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Dana Point

Acquisition: Early 1960s by Avco Community Incorporated: January 1, 1989

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Laguna Beach

Incorporated: June 29, 1927

City's History

Visit the current city's website.
Learn More

Our Partners and Sponsors


Laguna Hills, California

Moulton Ranch Center Mural

The Moulton Ranch Center mural depicts the history of Laguna Hills in a large, immersive mural painting that combines maps and photos from the Moulton Museum archives. These images are taken from the Moulton Ranch into an original artistic composition by Tim Smith, LCAD. View Orange County history through art in Laguna Hill’s first mural project! We hope you can experience the mural in person at 23272 Cabot Road in Laguna Hills. Please visit and follow us on social media for more content, details and upcoming events.

The newly released film provides historical information with on-site interviews.


  • All
  • Articles
  • Events
  • Newsletter
  • Videos

Moulton Theatre

The Laguna Playhouse hosted its centennial virtual gala. They featured the Moulton Theatre which was developed by Nellie Gail and is still being supported by …

Read More →

7 Historic O.C. Women

Nellie Gail Moulton, circa 1920, photographed while painting in a plein-air setting. Photograph courtesy of The Moulton Museum Orange Coast Magazine Article by Astgik Khatchatryan In honor …

Read More →

Nellie Gail Moulton Exhibit Reopened

Nellie Gail Moulton Exhibit We are pleased to announce that the Who Was Nellie Gail Moulton? exhibit has reopened. This gallery contains historic images, sketches, …

Read More →

Moulton Museum

Get in Touch


General Inquiries​

We are here to help you 7 days a week and respond within 24 hours. Plus, you can find most answers to your questions right on FAQ page.

Let us know if you’d like to schedule a visit.



Moulton Museum, a 501c3 non-profit works to keep the history of Orange County and its ranching era alive. We have a team that actively archives, restores, and preserves Orange County historical artifacts.


error: All images are copyright of the Moulton Museum.

Subscribe Now

Subscribe for free resources and news updates.