Julia Morgan 2012 Festival Concludes


Julia Morgan 2012 Festival Concludes

The Julia Morgan 2012 Festival has officially ended, but a few commemorative events are still planned for the weeks to come.  Her legacy, of course, is endless, and the enduring functionality, sustainability, and beauty of her buildings can be enjoyed by everyone for decades to come.

Our goal with the project was to celebrate the life and work of Miss Julia Morgan because her life and work are truly exemplary.  Few people have achieved such productivity in their lifetimes and her perseverance is an inspiring example of how to keep going even when life throws down a few challenges at one’s feet … challenges like rules that prevent the participation of women or unjust employers or earthquakes that undermine everything that was once solidly in place the day before. 

Julia Morgan’s ability to pick herself up and doggedly step up and over and through these challenges was one aspect of an inspirational life.  The other aspect was the sheer volume of her work.  That demonstrates a rock solid work ethic that left a mark on California’s built environment that we felt was worthy of celebration.

And worthy of being the pilot project of a program intended to raise awareness and appreciation for those elements in California’s built environment which help tell the engaging story of California’s development.  Landmarks California:  The Places of our Diverse Stories and Histories is intended to continue every other year with a focus on those places in our state which help tell California’s story.  

We appreciate the contributions of the many organizations throughout the state who participated in the Julia Morgan 2012 Festival by holding exhibits and tours and lectures and generally working to inform people about the life and work of Julia Morgan.  With apologies in advance to any organization I overlook, let me attempt to recap the participating organizations! 

Our partner furthest to the southeast was the stunning Riverside Art Museum which welcomed over 1,400 guests at their opening night!  The partner at the point furthest north in the state was North Star House in Grass Valley, which welcomed many dozens of people at a day-long open house.  In Berkeley, almost 150 people attended the Julia Morgan Festival Gala at the always charming Berkeley City Club and the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association had over 450 visitors for their one-day walking tour of ten Julia Morgan-designed buildings in Berkeley.   The Nihonmachi Little Friends in San Francisco’s Japantown YWCA held an open house and tour in late September.

In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Conservancy showcased Julia Morgan’s San Pedro YWCA on Veteran’s Day and shared that gem with over one hundred people.  Just a few miles up the coast, in Santa Monica, for several Sundays in a row, the beautifully restored Annenberg Beach House hosted special exhibits and tours.  Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena hosted a workshop on toy house building which employed Julia’s disaster resilient building techniques of reinforced concrete.

Mills College in Oakland, home of five Julia Morgan-designed buildings, decided to create a permanent exhibit honoring Julia Morgan following the success of their tribute to the architect during the festival.  San Francisco’s Zen Center hosted multiple lectures, tours, and exhibits and the Native Daughters of the Golden West were also gracious hostesses as they shared their lovely Julia Morgan-designed home with many new visitors.

The San Francisco Public Library hosted a lecture on Julia Morgan by Dr. Karen McNeill, as did the UC Berkeley Extension and the Berkeley College of Environmental Design.   CA State Parks organized a multi-day excursion between Asilomar State Park and Conference Center and Hearst Castle, two of Julia Morgan’s most famous works.  Attendees of the excursion were also treated to a Karen McNeill lecture on the life of Julia Morgan.

The Chinese Historical Society of America hosted historian Phil Choy who spoke about the YWCA building that Julia Morgan designed for the Chinese-American women of San Francisco and how that building contributed to the development of Chinatown.

So many wonderful offerings were available in the last several weeks.  It has been a Julia Morgan Fan Club Feast!  And the offerings are lingering on with the AIA San Francisco hosting a lecture in mid December featuring architect Sandhya Sood and the Berkeley Environmental Design Archives exhibit available until mid-December.  For those in Southern California, the Riverside Art Museum exhibit is up until the end of December.  Plenty of time left to still take in some Julia Morgan history and enjoy her beautiful buildings. 

Mimi Morris


Landmarks California Committee

If you’d like to be involved in the planning process for Landmarks California 2014, email endowment@library.ca.gov or call 916.653.1330