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California Missions Museum

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Tucked away in the back of the Cline Cellars winery on Highway 121 on the way to Sonoma stands the California Missions Museum. Also on the Cline Cellars property is a cross and adobe building marking the spot Father Altimira is said to have dedicated the original Sonoma Mission only to have it moved some months later to its present location in the city of Sonoma. (Click on images to expand them.)

California Missions MuseumExpand
Picture taken 3:15pm 19 Feb 2012

The museum is unique in that is was built to house and protect a special set of mission models. Those models made their initial debut in 1939 at the World's Fair at Treasure Island. They are perhaps the most complete and accurate mission models ever produced. Italian artist Leon Bayard de Vale directed a team of German cabinetmakers to make models designed to scale of original missions as accurately as possible. Even the shrubbery and figures are accurate to scale. Wood, clay, glass, cast iron, paperboard, and real paint were used to make the models.

In 1998 the models were set to be auctioned off individually when the Cline family saved them and, in 2005, built the museum to house and preserve them.

Museum InteriorExpand
Picture taken 2:50pm 19 Feb 2012

Also included in the museum is a life-size figure of Blessed Junipero Serra, mission paintings by artists Robert Morris and Henry Nelson, and two stained-glass panels originally from Mission Dolores prior to the 1906 earthquake.

By the front door is a plaque...

Mission Museum PlaqueExpand

...which reads...

California Mission Museum

The museum was built to house permanently the entire collection of the California Mission Models. These 21 intricately detailed models were crafted for the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939, and were built by German craftsmen under the direction of the Italian artist, Leon Bayard de Vale. The models were meticulously researched to represent each mission as it was originally built and designed by the missionaries.

This museum hopes to impart to all who visit it a sense of awe at the ingenuity, dedication, and tenacity of those who have gone before us. Built and donated by Fred and Nancy Cline, September 10, 2005.

Dedicated June 11, 2006
By The
Native Sons of the Golden West
J. Michael Anthony, Grand President

Let's take a look at the models now...Trail

How to Get There

Contact Information

  • Location: Cline Cellars, 24737 Arnold Drive, Highway 121, Sonoma, CA 95476
  • Phone: (707) 939-8051
  • Website: http://www.californiamissionsmuseum.com/
  • Hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Admission: Free


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Copyright © 2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!