Museums are closed now due to Covid-19, however, many museums are finding unique ways to allow the public to view their exhibits. Now might be a good time to ‘visit’ a museum anywhere in the world on-line. Some are even offering on-line classes and speaker presentations.
I signed-up to be included in a Zoom live-webinar for the San Diego History Center’s exhibit Fashion Redux 2020. While it would have been nice to see the exhibit in person, this was the next best thing. Fashion Redux 2020 is an exhibit featuring the designs of San Diego Mesa College fashion students that are based on and inspired by fashion from the collection at the San Diego History Center. The exhibit is now in it’s 9th year. This year’s era of choice was the 1970’s. The students researched the period and the clothing worn at that time and tried to make it relevant for today. The top four designs were chosen to be in the exhibit. During the live-webinar, the winning designers were asked questions about their designs and how they came to be and their design styles. Their professor from Mesa College was one of the speakers who questioned the students and gave information on their assignment.
The webinar began with a brief history of the museum and it’s collection. I found this very interesting. The fashion collection at the San Diego History Center is quite large and was donated by individuals living in San Diego. They (as most museums do) loan pieces from their collection to other museums. One such piece that has gone out for loan is the Bloomer Ensemble dating 1850. According to the museum’s archieve expert, the Bloomer Ensemble (which belonged to Anna Gunn Marston of San Diego) is the only existing piece of it’s kind. It had a very important significance to the change in women’s clothing, giving women more freedom of movement.
Bloomer Ensemble Silk taffeta and glazed cotton, c. 1850 Very rare example, descended through the Anna Gunn Marston family of San Diego. Gift of Elizabeth Bacon, 87.64.1 (photo and description from: http://www.sandiegohistorycenter.org)
So, while one may not be able to visit a museum in person at the moment, this is a great chance to enjoy an on-line experience. I am glad my daughter and I attended the on-line webinar. This year’s student designers were incredible and I learned a little fashion history as well. The webinar is eventually to be posted on the museum’s wesite and youtube as well. Be sure to check out the museum’s website for more information on the current exhibit at: http://www.sandiegohistorycenter.org).
Whether it is learning about one’s ancestors or learning to appreciate other cultures, the International Cottages of the House of Pacific Relations has it all. The cottages are located in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The goal of the HPR is to “further the pursuit of ‘pacific’ or peaceful relations among nations”.
Each house represented in the International Cottages displays cultural information and items relevant to their country. It is a great way to get a taste of a culture. On Saturdays and Sundays, the cottages are open from 11am to 4 pm. Visitors can view the cottages and on Sundays can enjoy refreshments from the culture (donations are welcome). Some cottages also provide refreshments on Saturdays as well.
Houses also put on performances at the stage. This may include music, dancing, singing, etc… Annual special events include an Ethnic Food Fair, and the International Christmas Festival celebrated at the Park’s December Nights. During these annual events, all the cottages are opened and ethnic food is available for purchase.
The HPR is a non-profit organization. Anyone can become a member to one of the houses. Many people who grew up in a country and then moved to the United States will join to stay connected to their culture and share it with others. A membership application/fee is required as well as volunteering at the house of choice. This is a great way to use a language with (in many cases) native speakers of the country. Each house has their own functions. In some, there a choirs to join or language courses. Some get together for coffee and to talk. Holidays are also celebrated with special functions just for members.
The HPR also has a Queens Organization. This is for young members of the houses. A Queen and Princesses can serve from each house. The Queens act as ambassadors for their house and preform cultural dances and do charitable work throughout the community. “The HPR Queens Organization fosters a spirit of understanding, tolerance and goodwill between all races and nationalities, and prepares its members to be adult members of their Houses.”
Visiting Balboa Park’s International Cottages is a great way to spend an afternoon and learn about different cultures. An excellent way to introduce young children to many different cultures at once. For more information visit: http://www.sdhpr.org/aboutus.html
On looking at architecture with my son for a photography assignment, we found ourselves in downtown San Diego. We did not have to travel far to find interesting buildings. The blocks along Broadway were full of historic buildings. I love older architecture. Such character, style!
My favorite building of the day was the Samuel I. Fox Building. This Spanish Revival showstoper can be found at Broadway and 6th Avenue. It has so much detail! One really needs to stand on the sidewalk below to fully appreciate this building. My favorite part, the tile overhang, would have been missed by driving by in a car or just walking down the sidewalk and not looking up. The overhanging tile roof was spectacular and something one does not see every day.
The Samuel Fox Building was built in 1929 by William Templeton Johnson, FAIA, to house Fox’s Lion Clothing Company. The price was $500,000 for the four-story, 56,000 square foot building. The Lion Clothing Company was the sole tenant until 1984. Today, the building is historic site number 72 and is home to the Samuel Fox Lofts. That is right, one can purchase a loft and live in this amazing building.
I’m glad that buildings such as the Samuel I Fox Building are protected as historic sites. It is nice to be able to see and appreciate things from the past. Happy Travels.
The world famous San Diego Zoo is a big place. Be prepared to spend a full day here (and take a nap after leaving) or a couple of shorter days to spread it out. The zoo has made many changes over the years. So, if it’s been a while, now might be a good time to visit the zoo.
The newest change is the additon of the exhibit Africa Rocks. This is now one of my favorite parts of the zoo. Among the highlights in Africa rocks are the African Penguins, Lemurs, Hamadryas Baboons, Meerkats, Black-Headed Weavers, and Bee-Eaters. I really enjoyed being able to go into the aviary and take photos of the beautiful, colorful birds on exhibit.
There seems always to be informative persons stationed at the orangutan and gorilla exhibits that give interesting facts about the animals and answer any questions guests may have. This makes the viewing of the animals a bit more meaningful and educational. I highly recommend staying a while at these two exhibits in particular to observe the animals for a while.
We were fortunate to visit the Koalas right after they ate and before they were to drift off to sleep. Quite a bonus for us as the Koalas are usually sleeping when we arrive. It was wonderful to see them active for a little while.
The food at the zoo is EXPENSIVE, however, outside food and drinks can be brought in. I highly recommend packing a lunch and bringing water to drink. There are plenty of places to sit down and enjoy lunch.
If walking gets to be too much, bus tours of the zoo are also available. Shows and animal ambassador talks are also available to see each day. The schedules can be picked up at the entry as they change daily.
The Timken Museum of Art located in San Diego California’s Balboa Park is an often overlooked gem. While the museum is small, it has much to offer. Perhaps best of all, it is free!
The museum houses a permanent collection and has one gallery dedicated to traveling exhibits. Right now, for instance, the fall exhibition is Masterpieces of Italian Drawings from The British Museum. This exhibition will be up through December 15, 2019. The museum does a wonderful job in creating new exhibits for the space. Often music will accompany an exhibit in the special exhibit. I must also say that the museum staff is always friendly and the guards are some of the most professional I have seen. They truly keep an eye on the guests making sure the art is safe.
Upon arrival guests are greeted by staff and walk past huge tapestries on the walls by Antoine Caron. There is a wonderful open space with comfortable seating. During the holidays, this space is transformed into a Holiday Installation displaying the Jewels of the Season, the ornate ornaments designed by San Diego artists Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi. To the right and left are galleries with the museum collection. To the right is the traveling exhibition. A small gift shop is located at the entry/exit.
The museum offers tours and lectures. The lectures are held in a gallery space with chairs set up, a speaker, and screen. I have attended a couple of the lectures and they have been popular. Come early for a good seat. Sometimes tickets must be purchased for special lectures or music events but many lectures are free. The museum also offers trips to other museums such as the J. Paul Getty. All information can be found on the museum website.
The Timken Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4:30 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 4:30 pm (Closed Monday). Can’t make it to the Timken in person? Take a virtual tour or view the collection on-line at http://www.timkenmuseum.org .