Best Museum (Non-Art) Orange County 2011 - Old Orange County Courthouse
211 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For years, Orange County has treated the Old Orange County Courthouse as a place worthy of civil marriages, political rallies and little else. But under the direction of the Orange County Archives, the majestic structure is also moving toward provocative, intelligent exhibits—this spring was devoted to a delightful display of silent films shot in Orange County (complete with screenings and accompanying organist), and most of the rest of this year and next, it will host lectures, films and displays on the historic Mendez, et al. vs. Westminster, et al. school-desegregation case. And even on the off-chance nothing is going on, downstairs is the Orange County Archives, where Susan Berumen and her deputy, Chris Jepsen (author of the popular O.C. History Roundup blog), are more than happy to show off the county's treasures.