Get On Board: Stories of the Los Angeles to Houston Freedom Ride recounts the seldom-heard story of CORE’s (Congress of Racial Equality) freedom ride from Los Angeles, California, to Houston, Texas, in August of 1961. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the freedom rides, this exhibit underscores the ambitious optimism that inspired 11 Californians — both black and white, men and women — to leave their schools, families and homes to get on board a train for a ride to secure freedom and liberty for all Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.
Inspired by Houston’s Union Station, the exhibit features a U-shaped lunch counter with six counter stools that serves as a display area for artifacts that relate the courageous stories of the California Freedom Riders such as:
Newspaper clips detailing contrasting historical perspectives from Los Angeles Times & Houston Chronicle
Photographs & political buttons from original Freedom Rider Ellen Broms’ personal collection
1961 UCLA oral history & manuscripts written by original Freedom Rider Steven McNichols
The exhibition, presented in partnership with the California Legislative Black Caucus and the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum, opens on February 5, 2011, and continues through May 29, 2011.
Founded in 2004 by then-California First Lady Maria Shriver, the Minerva Awards honor women who have changed our world with their courage, their strength, and their wisdom. The annual awards celebrated women who work to make this world a more compassionate, tolerant and just place. This conference-funded exhibit chronicles their lasting legacies.
The 2009 Minerva Award winners are:
Agnes Stevens: The life of retired schoolteacher Agnes Stevens changed in 1993 when she read a book about homelessness in the United States. The staggering number of homeless children and the shockingly few who went to school appalled her. She began teaching homeless kids in a park in Santa Monica, encouraging them to stay in school, keep up their grades and participate in school activities.
From that individual decision to help– to bring 30 years of classroom experience to America’s most forgotten children–School on Wheels was born.
Seventeen years later, Stevens and School on Wheels provide one-on-one tutoring for homeless kids who live in shelters, motels, group foster homes, cars and on the streets. More than 1,000 volunteer tutors from every profession and background help thousands of homeless children ages six to 18, throughout Southern California enroll in school and stay there.
Formerly a teacher in the New York Bowery, Chicago’s Chinatown and Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Stevens now scours the seedier parts of Southern California looking for children. The neediest don’t come to her, she says. She has to go to them.
Without government support of any kind, School on Wheels also gives away at least 5000 backpacks loaded with school supplies, and some school uniforms. The children get help enrolling in school and with locating and filing school records as well as a toll-free phone number for around-the-clock School on Wheels’ support. When a child moves, School on Wheels follows them, offering stability in an otherwise unstable existence.
At many shelters, School on Wheels has created special learning rooms, with computers, books, drawing and writing materials, to give the children a quiet place to study.
Her 20 year fight on behalf of homeless children was recognized in 2008, when Stevens was one of three women who received the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, known as the children’s “Nobel Prize.”
Helen Waukazoo: Growing up in New Mexico, Helen Devore Waukazoo remembers her beloved Navajo father telling her she would “walk in two worlds:” that of the Native American and the white American.
At 13, Helen and two of her siblings were torn from their family and forced to attend boarding school in a government attempt to move and integrate American Indians from their reservations into non-Indian communities. Helen’s school was in Utah, a thousand miles and a world apart from any life she had known. Separated from her parents, she was forced into a foreign world in which she was forbidden to honor her own culture and language. It was a traumatic experience and the moment she was free to leave, she did.
She headed to San Francisco in her early 20’s and volunteered at a drop-in center started by a church group, a place for American Indian people to connect in the midst of what often felt like a foreign world. The group recognized the high rate of addiction Helen’s people struggled with—both to alcohol and drugs. As she rose from volunteer clerk-typist to paid bookkeeper to co-Founder of the American Indian Friendship House in the 1970s, the mission for the center changed as well.
Today Friendship House exists to help keep Helen’s native people sober. Many who come to her are often not just addicted, but homeless and unemployed. Through a unique program approach, most leave committed to sobriety and in a position to regain their footing and their dignity. Friendship House’s relapse rate is half that of the average treatment center. Part of the reason is the program’s unique blend of 12 Step, Western psychology and Native American traditions. What Helen realized was that Native Americans are more prone to addiction when they abandon tradition. At Friendship House, recovery includes prayers, medicine men, healing ceremonies, talking circles and a sweat lodge. She has also started a 10-bed facility for mothers whose children have been removed by the courts. Here they are taught not just parenting skills, but how to cook and nurture their children incorporating many Indian traditions.
The staff of Friendship House provides Indian Health services in neighboring Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Friendship House has grown into an 80-bed facility in a brand new building and serves as a regional treatment center, the largest center for Indian Americans in California. Beyond its successful alcohol and addiction treatment programs and its facility to reunite mothers and children, Friendship House today helps in finding jobs for clients and in providing youth services.
Dr. Jane Goodall: In the summer of 1960, 26-year-old Goodall arrived at Lake Tanganyika, East Africa to study chimpanzees, an act so unorthodox at the time that British authorities required her mother accompany her as a companion. But before long, she struck out on her own to become a world leader and new voice in redefining the relationship between humans and animals.
In 1957, a school friend invited Goodall to her parents’ farm in Kenya. Within months, she met anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey, who had been searching for someone to begin a study of chimpanzees.
At first, the chimps fled whenever they saw Goodall, but gradually the chimps allowed her close enough for her to get to know them individually and observe their everyday behavior. In the fall of 1960, she saw a chimpanzee strip leaves off twigs to fashion tools. Until then, scientists thought humans were the only species to make and use tools. This would be one of Goodall’s most important, although by no means only, discovery.
In her almost 50 years as a primatologist and more recently as an environmentalist, she has fought poachers, polluters and politicians. She has radically influenced her field of study and blazed a trail for other women who have followed in her footsteps, including Dian Fossey. Her research and writing have revolutionized scientific thinking about the evolution of humans.
The Gombe Stream Research Centre, which Dr. Goodall established in 1965, has become a training ground for students interested in studying primates. In 1977, Dr. Goodall, established the Jane Goodall Institute. The Institute supports the continuing research at Gombe and is a global leader in protecting chimpanzees and their habitats and for establishing conservation programs in Africa.
Roots & Shoots, Goodall’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program, has nearly 150,000 members in 110 countries. In 2002, Secretary General Kofi Annan named Dr. Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2004 she became a Dame of the British Empire, the female equivalent of a knighthood. Dr. Goodall received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1965, and she has been the recipient of numerous scientific and humanitarian awards from around the world.
Dr. Kathy Hull: Kathy Hull founded the George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, CA, the first freestanding residential pediatric palliative care center in the United States, because she believes that all dying children and their families deserve a sanctuary as they endure one of life’s most excruciating experiences. While the vision for this 15,000 square-foot San Leandro “home” was born from personal family tragedy, every detail of its execution reflects a sense of love, warmth and support Hull wants people to know as they struggle with the loss of their own young life or that of their child’s.
With Dr. Barbara Beach, a pediatric oncologist, Hull started the house in 2004, acutely aware of the devastation a family faces from the loss of a child. The house is named for two of her brothers, George and Mark. In both cases, she remembers how ill-equipped her family was, as when George was critically ill to navigate the medical system during crisis.
Before Hull created George Mark Children’s House, the only options in the United States for dying children were a hospital room, the family’s home, or nursing homes geared for adults — all settings that in different ways can be daunting to the surviving family, and most particularly to dying children themselves.
Hull, a clinical psychologist, and her colleague Dr. Beach saw firsthand how badly families needed an alternative: a supportive environment in which every family member’s medical, emotional and spiritual needs could be met as they faced this toughest of life’s trials.
Hull’s first decision was to take on “the look” of her facility. She engaged an architect to design a beautiful ranch style house surrounded by a 5 acre oasis of lush trees and flower beds. A small chapel sits on the top of a hill where services are held in honor of the children who have died here. The bedrooms have brightly colored murals. There is a spacious playroom, a computer game room, family suites, eight patient rooms and a large open kitchen called Ruth’s Café where family and staff eat together. In the George Mark Room, families can stay with their child after her/his death and say goodbye over a period of days if that is their choice. Counseling to help cope with a loss of a child is provided free for as long as a family needs it.
Children who come to George Mark have progressive, incurable diseases that will likely take their lives before they become adults. Each year, over 200 families call George Mark their temporary home. Some families come for respite care, a break from the rigors of caring for their seriously ill child. But hospice care takes precedence. No child is denied care because their family is unable to pay.
For more information on past and present winners, visit the Women’s Conference on the web.
The Minerva Awards exhibit is generously sponsored by the Women’s Conference and Lifetime Networks.
Counterculture, with its rejection of the ordinary, has long been synonymous with California. During the Summer of Love in 1967, San Francisco established itself as the epicenter of the movement, where new genres of music and art emphasizing experimentation gained worldwide notoriety. A new exhibit at The California Museum showcasing 80 rare pieces promoting shows from Sacramento to Bakersfield explores the Central Valley’s previously overlooked role as it defines the region’s relevance in the era’s iconic rock scene.
The Central Valley Turns On: Psychedelic Poster Art, 1965-1975 explores an art form as revolutionary and experimental as the music it was designed to sell, and highlights noteworthy performances from many of the era’s legends. Bold colors and hand-drawn illustrations announce a performance by The Doors and KZAP’s fifth birthday celebration with the Beach Boys at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium. Dynamic compositions with intertwining words and imagery decorate handbills to promote The Jimi Hendrix Experience at Sacramento State College and Creedence Clearwater Revival at Cal Expo. Compacted designs of nearly illegible text create patterns to plug the Grateful Dead at Fresno’s Selland Arena as well as Pink Floyd headlining a Sacramento Sound Factory show.
Featuring an extraordinary collection of screen and lithographic prints owned by a private poster art aficionado, the exhibit presented by The California Museum in partnership with Alisa Leslie, Curator and Art Historian at Seligman Western Enterprises, and Walter Medeiros, counterculture art historian and contributing author of High Art: A History of the Psychedelic Poster. Many of the pieces have been out of view since they were created over 40 years ago. Now reintroduced to the public, they shed new historical perspective on the Central Valley’s supporting role in California’s counterculture scene and define the region‘s relevance in the iconic psychedelic rock movement of the era.
Photographs from the state Capitol by acclaimed former Los Angeles Times photojournalist Robert Durell offer a vivid and insightful view of the rollercoaster ride of California politics. Two dozen photos are on display, along with a larger-than-life slide show of many more, accompanied by the photographer’s witty and incisive commentary that gives visitors the back-story behind each image.
A glimpse into the personal holdings of these passionate lifelong collectors, this exhibit spotlights key aspects of the black experience in America, with rare historical documents creating the context for sculptures and paintings by important African American artists. Read the letter a slave girl carried, unaware that its contents dictated that she be sold away from her home and family. See original documents written by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Appreciate original artwork ranging from an 1890 oil by still-life and landscape painter Charles Ethan Porter to a photograph by renowned photographer Gordon Parks. The exhibit is presented by the California Legislative Black Caucus and its February opening celebrates Black History Month.
Watch this video to get a better glimpse of this stunning exhibit and the people who created it.
Under the Dragon: California’s New Culture explores the state’s diversity: showing how cultures, personalities and traditions from all over the world mingle in unexpected ways in California, forging a vibrant hybrid culture.
The vibrant photographs and exciting soundscapes reveal startling cultural juxtapositions, including a young white minister preaching at an almost all-black Baptist church, Latinos converting to Islam in a suburban mosque, a 79-year-old Japanese American earning her high school diploma and an Iranian therapist with Cambodian clients.
This exhibit, created by Lonny Shavelson and Fred Setterberg, was inspired by the photographer’s encounter under a Chinese New Year dragon. When a rainstorm interrupted the annual celebration, the photographer sought refuge under the 200-foot dragon and discovered the unlikely alliance of people who carried it were not just Chinese but also included Russians, Samoans, and Latinos.
The exhibit honors those breaking cultural stereotypes, the iconic traditions of the international community, and the individualism that is a hallmark of California.
This exhibit from the Library of Congress will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s revered sixteenth president. Charting Lincoln’s growth from prairie politician to preeminent statesman, it will address the controversies that marked the road to his presidency, including challenges to civil liberties and the Constitution, slavery and race, and the dissolution of the Union and the Civil War.
For the first time ever, the original artwork for the California State Duck Stamps will be on display. These collectible stamps, required for hunting waterfowl in California, raise money to preserve wetlands and other critical habitat for ducks and geese in the state. Since California started the nation’s first state duck stamp program in 1971, it has generated more than $22 million to help our water birds. Thirty-seven original paintings, in various media, representing each duck stamp since the program began in 1971 will be on display. From wood ducks to wigeons, mallards to pintails, the exquisite duck stamps highlight many of California’s migratory birds.
This exhibit is in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Game.
The California Museum opens its newest exhibit, Gold on the Bay: The Remarkable Story of Gold Rush San Francisco to the public on Saturday, April 18th. The exhibit features collages depicting San Francisco as a sleepy Mexican outpost on through its formative years past the boom of the Gold Rush. Artifacts ranging in gold paraphernalia to pistols will accentuate the 28 surrealist collages, which play on form, cultural resonance and textured surfaces.
On the 160th anniversary of the California Gold Rush, the exhibition will be a great venue to learn about the energetic and yet dark underbelly of California’s ultimate boomtown. Students of California history will find the pictorial exhibit unique as it portrays the full spectrum of the diverse conditions and nature of the city’s society, as well as provide a distinct artistic perspective on its progression.
The collages Satty assembled are compilations of historic illustrations and are accompanied by descriptive eyewitness accounts dating from 1849 to 1890. The California State Parks contributed to the exhibit by lending the Museum items best portraying the various vices of the time, like Mexican playing cards, opium stands, gold scales and a gambler’s Colt pistol, among others.
Wilfried “Satty” Podriech (1939-1982) was a German immigrant who lived in San Francisco as part of the Hippie counterculture of the 1960s and 70s. As an artist and historian, he found little difference between the rough and tumble lifestyle of Gold Rush San Francisco and the transgressive chaotic city of his own time.
This exhibit presents evocative portraits of Southern Californians, both historic and contemporary, by photographer Harry Brant Chandler.
Inspired by his own family, whose dreams helped shaped Los Angeles – from founding the Los Angeles Times to numerous civic, business and real estate endeavors – Chandler set out to identify those rare Southern Californians with the confidence and imagination to pursue their dreams. Many are famous; most are highly accomplished; all are inspirational. Dreamers, to Chandler, are not content just to strive to be the best. They have to, in fact, reinvent the path to greatness.
He created his portraits as a painter would, changing the composition, removing non-essential visual details, adding or enhancing the colors, replacing the skies and or the background, and, most of all, placing his subjects in the context of their dreams.
From immigrants to billionaires, unknown wannabes to the world famous, surfers to moviemakers, quacks to entrepreneurs, Southern California has produced an unrivaled potpourri of dreamers. Meet some of them here.
The quilts in this exhibit are reminders of an epic chapter in California history. In one of the greatest migrations of modern times, a quarter million Americans came West between 1840 and 1870. Many were drawn by the limitless possibilities of California – gold, farmland, business opportunities, and religious and cultural freedom. Leaving family and friends, and braving a perilous trek across the continent, they brought with them as many items from home as they could. Much of what women packed was their own handiwork: treasured quilts, best dresses, baby gowns, and other needlecraft. The textiles shown in this exhibit are the artistic achievements of these women; some were hauled cross-country, others completed after arrival. Passed down through generations, they ultimately were donated to California State Parks to mark a momentous era in California history.
Despite a common belief that they are newcomers to California, many Latinas can trace their ancestry in the region back two centuries or more. An important part of the California story since the first Mexican settlers arrived in Southern California in 1775, their struggles and their triumphs have shaped the past and continue to influence the future. From activists to artists, from writers to scientists, Latinas have been involved in every field of endeavor. This exhibit highlights some of the remarkable Latinas whose contributions have helped create today’s California.
A pesar de la creencia común de que han llegado a California recientemente, muchas latinas tienen antepasados que vivían en la región hace dos siglos o más. Una parte importante de la historia del estado desde que los primeros colonos mexicanos llegaron a las tierras del sur de California en 1775, sus esfuerzos y triunfos han determinado el pasado y continúan influyendo en el futuro. Desde activistas a artistas, desde autoras a científicas, las latinas han participado en cada ámbito laboral. Esta exposición destaca a algunas latinas extraordinarias cuyas contribuciones han ayudado a crear la California de hoy.
This exhibit highlights North America’s largest bird, the California condor, telling the story of its brush with extinction, and of the determined people who are fighting to save this remarkable bird.
For millennia, the California condor sailed the skies of the Pacific Coast. By the mid-1980s, however, the condor was dangerously close to extinction, with only 22 individuals left alive. Determined not to allow this magnificent bird to die out, dedicated biologists, individuals and organizations captured the last birds living in the wild and began a captive breeding and reintroduction program. Thanks to their dedication, today there are over 300 condors, with about half living in the wild.
Visitors can walk into a 360-degree panorama of condor country, test their condor knowledge in a computer game, measure themselves against a condor’s ten-foot wingspan, and see a real stuffed condor, collected in Monterey in 1885 and on loan from the Smithsonian.
The exhibit was developed by the Ventana Wildlife Society, a leader in the fight to save the condor.
Most of us know dogs best as pets and companions, but for thousands of years, dogs have helped people with daily tasks such as herding livestock, hunting for food, or hauling loads. More recently, dogs have been used to help people with disabilities, to assist in search and rescue missions, and to protect the public in partnership with military and law enforcement units. Some dogs even do unconventional jobs like helping scientists track endangered species, locating ancient burial grounds, or alerting wine grape growers to insect infestations in the vines.
California has been a leader in developing specialized dog training, and California dogs have served in many capacities around the nation and the world. Meet a few of them in this exhibit!
The 2007 California Hall of Fame exhibit includes a striking 40-foot wide display, designed by West Office Exhibition Design of Oakland, California, that is the focal point of the Museum lobby. The panel display features large scale portraits of the inductees, photographs and their biographical information. The artifact exhibit, located on the second floor, showcases in greater detail each inductee’s unique contribution.
Celebrating the 2007 California Hall of Fame inductees, this year’s exhibit includes over a hundred artifacts – many of which have never been displayed before. Some examples include:
Original prints by Ansel Adams;
One of Milton Berle’s costumes as well as a wind-up toy Berle Crazy Car;
A baseball and bat autographed by Willie Mays;
Rita Moreno’s dress from “West Side Story,” as well as her Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy;
Jonas Salk’s lab equipment, including vials of the polio vaccine from 1954;
John Steinbeck’s typewriter and original manuscript pages from “East of Eden;”
Elizabeth Taylor’s costume from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” for which she won an Oscar;
Earl Warren’s chair as governor of California;
John Wayne film memorabilia, including his boots, hat and saddle;
One of the most spectacular homes in the United States is located on the remote central California coast. Known today as Hearst Castle, the buildings at San Simeon were the product of a decades-long collaboration between two remarkable individuals, publisher William Randolph Hearst and renowned architect Julia Morgan.
Hearst always called California his favorite place, not only for its beauty but also for its climate of individualism. Here, he could follow his own path in life and in business. The results remain with us. Through the innovations he brought to his newspapers, through his magazines that still are widely read, and most visibly through the magnificent buildings he created and art collection he assembled, Hearst left an indelible imprint on our history.
This exhibit highlighted some of the treasures that fill Hearst’s castle at San Simeon. Approximately forty objects were on display, marking the first time a significant grouping of artifacts had left the Castle.
The exhibit was presented in partnership with California State Parks.
In 1769, Spain began colonizing California, building missions to convert the indigenous people to Catholicism. As the oldest buildings in California, the missions continue to captivate the imagination. Starting in the 1880s, artists began creating paintings and drawings of weathered adobe walls, red-tiled roofs, and tranquil arcades that shaped a romantic vision of the region’s Spanish-era past. Although reality differed from that vision, the missions did set the course of history during their 65-year heyday, establishing the roots of today’s California, from its agricultural empires of cattle and grain to its architecture, cuisine, and place names.
This exhibit presented paintings from the Irvine Museum that captured a moment in time, as some of California’s finest Impressionist artists perceived it.